Stroudsburg Residents Upset Over Tax Hike

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STROUDSBURG -- To deal with a big budget deficit, the Stroudsburg Area School Board made some major changes to pass a budget.

Twenty-six retiree positions will not be filled. 25 other staff members have been demoted or furloughed, and the district is hiking taxes by $6 million.

People we spoke to are not happy about the increase and can't believe it was OK'd.

Janet Klingel and her daughter have lived in Stroudsburg for many years, and they are no stranger to the burden of tax increases.

News of the latest property tax increase for Stroudsburg residents isn't sitting well with them.

"I think it's a disgrace. I really do. These people worked all their life, and now they have to struggle to pay their taxes and all their other bills, and I think it's awful,” explained Klingel.

The Stroudsburg Area School Board passed a budget with a $6 million tax hike, which is about a three percent raise from last year. The average property owner will see an increase of $154 which is not a number residents are happy with.

Diane Hanson of Stroudsburg said, "It went from 5.3 to six and people like my mother, a senior citizen, she's worked three jobs to keep everything going and now what does she do?"

“Not surprised but not welcomed, and I think folks in this borough are still struggling to get back,” said Fred Beltz of Stroudsburg.

The superintendent, Dr. Cosmas Curry, understands people are frustrated with the increase but believes it was the best option other than cutting programs, which is something he wouldn't do.

Dr. Curry says the district is in a lose-lose situation. He believes the money issues will take two to three years to be fixed but remains optimistic the district will get back on its feet.

"We recognize the pain and it's not simple. It's not simple, but we believe we have great programs, great kids, and we are proud of what we offer our students academically, and we are doing what we can, what we believe we need to do to keep things going in the right direction academically,” explained Dr. Curry.

Again, in addition to the tax increase, the district now goes into this school year down around 50 staff members, and it’s all to deal with a budget deficit.

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