HAZLETON – City Council met on Wednesday night to review a 2013 proposed budget that would include an 83 percent increase in real estate taxes.
This increase was deemed necessary because, beginning in January, Hazleton will no longer receive a $600,000 annual payment from a developer reclaiming mine land on the city's southwest side.
A sewer transmission fee will also be forfeited as a source of revenue because the city will turn over that entity to the Greater Hazleton Joint Sewer Authority as of Jan. 1.
Steve Hahn, newly appointed city administrator, said that although the proposed increase in the city's real estate tax seems high, it will result in an average increase of $43.62 a month – about $523 a year – to homeowners with property valued at $92,000.
This seems to be reasonable in light of multiple services provided by the city, said Hahn.
The budget also outlined a 14.14 percent increase in the earned income tax. Mayor Joe Yannuzzi called the increased burden on the taxpayer a necessity, saying the proposed budget was really a bare bones one.
Council members Jack Mundie and Jean Mope opposed the proposed budget, saying they would vote against the proposal in its present form.
It's time for council to work together and to come up with a reasonable solution, said council President Jim Perry. We need to deal in realities.
City Council's next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. in council chambers.