SCRANTON -- It's that time of year when all the taxing bodies put together their budgets for next year. Taxpayers in the city of Scranton are not expected to pay any more in city taxes in 2017. The school tax bill is still in question.
Scrantonians took the news of no city tax increase with a grain of salt at Sharon's Place in Scranton. Financial problems never seem too far away.
"Are they getting raises? Because I don't see much of a change in Scranton with the taxes going up every year," said Jean Hopple.
For the first time in Mayor Bill Courtright's administration, his budget proposal does not include a property tax increase. Other taxes that have gone up over the past few years will stay in place.
The mayor says renegotiating police and fire contracts along with shrinking interest rates on other debt helped keep costs down and most taxpayers happy.
"The financial community is really viewing us differently. That's a major plus for the city of Scranton," said the mayor. "As I said before, when we came into office, they ran away from me. We couldn't get anybody to do business with us. And now, they're coming to us asking to do business with us. That's why we're getting favorable rates."
Mayor Courtright also thinks 2017 may be the year Scranton loses its distressed status with the state.
Meanwhile, state funding is a reason why the Scranton School District is in distress. Right now, the district needs to fill a $17 million hole in its 2017 budget.
School board president Bob Sheridan says they are looking for additional state money and savings.
"This is only a tentative budget. It's a wish list," said Sheridan. "Next month at this time talk to me. I'm telling you, it's going to be a lot different. Are we still going to be in deficit? Yes. But, can we curve the corner? Yes, I think we can get it to the point where we don't have to raise taxes."
Both the city of Scranton and the Scranton School District have about a month to make changes and then approve their 2017 budgets.