Struggling Scranton to Hike Taxes, Increase Pay for Six City Employees


Scranton, Pa., earned national coverage this summer when the city slashed city worker pay to the minimum wage in an attempt to cover the city’s struggling finances. But the city’s tax-and-spend budget proposal for 2013 isn’t receiving much attention.

A hearing on the 2013 city budget that proposes a “12 percent property tax increase that will increase at that rate for three years” and a 1 percent commuter tax for non-residents encountered little public outcry, according to WNEP-TV.

The indebted city is also raising salaries for six employees, the Times-Tribune reports:

Residents’ concerns included various tax hikes, including a 12 percent property tax increase and the reviving of a long-dormant commuter tax, as well as the city’s steep hike in borrowing. […]

Resident Tom Ungvarsky expressed concern about the ($109.7 million) budget’s “tremendous increase” from the $85.3 million budget of 2012.

Raises ranging from 19 to 33 percent for six employees, including council and administration solicitors, fire chief, business administrator and two administrative employees, also drew mixed reactions.

This follows a summer when the city earned national coverage when Mayor Chris Doherty (D.) slashed city worker pay to minimum wage in lieu of raising taxes to make up for the city having $5,000 in the bank.

Doherty’s decision to cut city workers’ salaries (including police and fire fighters) to $7.25 an hour brought upon three separate lawsuits from  unions and city council members.