Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett Announces 2014-2015 Budget Plan, Targets Education

Map of Pennsylvania

Map of Pennsylvania (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

HARRISBURG, PA — Gov. Tom Corbett gave his annual budget address Tuesday, outlining a plan for 2014-2015 that seeks to put a priority on education.

“Education is the largest single item in my budget,” Corbett said. “The increase I propose would bring direct state support of public education to $10.1 billion, more than 40 percent of state spending.”

The increase will bring the total of additional education funding for the past three years to $1.2 billion, the governor said.

Corbett directly addressed the cuts to education funding which opponents have criticized since Corbett took office in 2011. The cuts were necessary to grappled with the decreasing federal stimulus package that coincided with the 2008 recession, he said.

Read more: http://www.timesherald.com/general-news/20140204/pennsylvania-gov-tom-corbett-announces-2014-2015-budget-plan-targets-education

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Wilkes-Barre City Council Reorganizes, Picks Officers

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

WILKES-BARRE, PA — City Council on Monday reelected its chairman, but replaced its vice chairman, who has been a frequent critic of Mayor Tom Leighton and his administration.

Bill Barrett will handle the gavel in 2014, keeping the chairmanship for another year. However, Tony George, a retired city police chief like Barrett, was replaced by Mike Merritt for the vice chairman’s post.

“I guess I must have offended them by not voting for all of the mayor’s proposals,” George said after the meeting. “I was elected to represent the people, and I will continue voting no when I feel it’s the right thing to do, and I will question issues when I see fit.”

Read more:  http://timesleader.com/news/local-news/1105905/W-B-council-reorganizes-picks-officers

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Towanda Borough Council Passes $4.9M Budget Thursday, Tax Rates To Remain The Same

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Bradford County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Bradford County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

TOWANDA, PA – The Towanda Borough Council on Thursday adopted a final $4.9 million borough budget for 2014, which leaves the borough’s tax rates unchanged.

The budget keeps the borough’s services the same as they were, borough Manager Kyle V. Lane said.

The council also voted unanimously to adopt the salaries for the borough’s employees for 2014, which in most cases had been previously set by union contracts.

However, the borough’s four non-unionized, salaried employees, including the borough manager, will receive a 2 percent “cost of living” raise, the council decided.

Read more: http://thedailyreview.com/news/council-passes-4-9m-budget-thursday-tax-rates-to-remain-the-same-1.1607411

York County Approves Budget Without Tax Increase

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting York County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting York County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

York County commissioners on Wednesday approved a 2014 budget with no tax increase.

The millage rate will remain 4.52, so a taxpayer with a home assessed at $150,000 will continue to pay $678 in county real estate taxes.

County administrator Chuck Noll said no significant changes were made to the final budget after the draft one was presented in November. He said it was the fourth time in five years that commissioners approved a budget without a tax increase.

The $476.7 million budget includes a general fund of $190.6 million.

Read more: http://www.ydr.com/politics/ci_24753479/york-county-approves-budget-without-tax-increase

State College Council To Vote Monday On Budget, Proposed Tax Hike

Counties constituting the Happy Valley Region ...

Counties constituting the Happy Valley Region of Pennsylvania (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  The average State College homeowner, with a property value of $200,000, would pay $7 more per month….

State College Borough Council will decide Monday whether to go along with one member’s last-minute push to avoid a tax increase in 2014.

Council is expected to vote Monday on a proposed budget that carries a property tax increase of 1.5 mills. But Councilman Jim Rosenberger suggested last week that he would make a motion instead to put off the increase and dig deeper into reserve funds to balance the spending plan.

Rosenberger said he hadn’t seen enough at a series of budget discussions to be convinced that the borough needs to raises taxes in 2014.

Borough Manager Tom Fountaine said that the budget could be modified to include no tax increase and still be passed Monday. Council wouldn’t have to start the process over or hold additional meetings.

Scranton Mayor Vetoes Council’s Revisions To His Budget

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lackawanna County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lackawanna County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mayor Chris Doherty on Friday vetoed city council’s revisions to his proposed $130.2 million budget.

Council will hold a special meeting Monday at 5:30 p.m. to vote on whether to override or sustain the veto, council President Janet Evans said.

A split council on Thursday raised and lowered some salaries and added two positions in the mayor’s budget. The amendments did not change the budget total or the 57 percent tax increase and 69 percent trash collection fee hike.

Council voted 3-2 on many of the amendments in a split that had Councilmen Bob McGoff, Pat Rogan and Jack Loscombe, who are all returning to council in 2014, forming a bloc to pass the amendments, and Council President Janet Evans and Councilman Frank Joyce, who are departing council, dissenting.

Read more: http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/scranton-mayor-vetoes-council-s-revisions-to-his-budget-1.1601207

Proposed York City Budget Has No Tax Increase, But Includes New Expenses

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting York County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting York County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For the second year in a row, York City is poised to approve a balanced budget that does not hike property taxes.

But there are some new expenses in Mayor Kim Bracey‘s 2014 proposal that the York City Council could target if council members want to trim the budget before approving it next week.

Most significant among them is the $550,000 pricetag on a new financial-management system. The city secured a grant from the state to cover $150,000 of that cost.

Business administrator Michael O’Rourke explained during a marathon budget hearing Wednesday that the city’s current system became obsolete years ago.

Read more: http://www.yorkdispatch.com/breaking/ci_24706975/proposed-york-city-budget-has-no-tax-increase

Budget Adopted By Plymouth Council With No Tax Hike

Location of Plymouth Township in Montgomery County

Location of Plymouth Township in Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

PLYMOUTH TOWNSHIP, PA — The final, $21,021,288 2014 budget, which keeps the millage rate at 1.6 mills, was unanimously adopted by council Monday night.

The budget has a reserve fund balance of $5,988,716 at the end of 2014, including more than $3 million in cash, said. The available fund balance decreased from $6,678,813 at the end of 2013 to $5,988,716.

The budget has contractual increases in salary for police and administration employees. Health care costs are up about $300,000, and there is an additional $240,000 for three additional police officers in the budget, Creelman said.

The average residential home is assessed at $180,000 and the township tax will is expected to remain at $288.

Read more: http://www.timesherald.com/general-news/20131209/budget-adopted-by-plymouth-council-with-no-tax-hike

Pottstown Council OKs $39M Budget, Tax Hike Below 1%, Sewer Rates Up 4%

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

POTTSTOWN, PA — The $38.9 million 2014 borough budget was adopted by council with a 5-1-1 vote Monday night after it was announced the tax hike had ducked under the 1 percent mark.

With a 6-1 vote, Council also approved a sewer rate increase of $5 per quarter for the base rate, and an additional 20 cents per 1,000 cubic feet of water used — an increase of about 4 percent.

Borough Manager Mark Flanders announced prior to the budget vote that the 1.01 percent tax hike initially proposed by the administration in November had been cut to 0.95 percent.

For a resident with a home assessed at $85,000, that works out to an increase of $8.39 for the year, he said.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20131210/council-oks-39m-budget-tax-hike-below-1-sewer-rates-up-4

Hazleton Passes Budget With A Cut In Property Tax

Downtown Hazleton, PA

Downtown Hazleton, PA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

HAZLETON, PA — Not only did a council majority avoid layoffs and deferred paydays for city workers Thursday night, the majority also amended Mayor Joe Yannuzzi’s proposed budget to include a property tax decrease.

Yannuzzi had said he would have to lay off City Hall employees and have police, firefighters and road crews work without pay if council didn’t adopt a stormwater maintenance fee because he already included it as revenue in the 2014 budget. And he needed a balanced budget in order to secure a tax anticipation note — a bank loan to tide the city over until tax revenues start to come in the spring. The loan also would cover salary expenses through the end of 2013.

At a meeting filled with outbursts, shouting matches and arguments among council members, council voted 3-2 to adopt the maintenance fee on a sliding scale that depends on the size of a property owner’s lot and other factors. The owner of an average size lot will have to pay a $25 fee in 2014.

Read more: http://timesleader.com/news/local-news/1035150/Hazleton-passes-budget-with-a-cut-in-property-tax

Hazleton City Shutdown Looms Over Deficit

Downtown Hazleton, PA

Downtown Hazleton, PA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

HAZLETON, PA — About 50 of the city’s 110 employees might be furloughed as early as Monday and the city is in danger of defaulting on its bills because of a $500,000 budget deficit.

At a press conference Monday, Mayor Joe Yannuzzi unveiled the latest in a string of the city’s financial woes that started last year when it had to raise the real estate tax by 45 percent. As it stands, non-essential employees — primarily office personnel and some public works employees — will not show up for work Monday and City Hall will be closed.

Firefighters and police will work regular shifts and road crews will still plow snow from the streets, Yannuzzi said.

Read more: http://timesleader.com/news/local-news/1010850/Hazleton-city-shutdown-looms-over-deficit

Scranton Mayor Proposes 56 Percent Property Tax Increase; 69 Percent Garbage Fee Hike

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lackawanna County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lackawanna County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

With wary banks watching Scranton‘s finances closely, Mayor Chris Doherty today proposed a $130.5 million budget for 2014 that would dramatically raise real estate taxes, the garbage collection fee and parking-meter rates and penalties.

Read the budget HERE

A real estate tax increase of 56.7 percent would be one of the largest, if not the largest, tax hikes ever in the city. A trash collection fee increase of 68.5 percent – from the current $178 a year to $300 a year – would be the largest garbage fee hike ever.

The large spikes are all necessary to close a $20 million operating deficit for 2014 and restore the city’s creditworthiness with lenders, Mr. Doherty said.

Read more: http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/scranton-mayor-proposes-56-percent-property-tax-increase-69-percent-garbage-fee-hike-1.1586481

Phoenixville Rejects Hiring Additional Police Officer

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Chester County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Chester County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

PHOENIXVILLE, PA — Borough council voted 5-2 Tuesday to turn down a request to budget for a 29th officer for the Phoenixville Police Department.

Supporting the addition of a police officer were East Ward council members David Gautreau and council Vice President Michael Speck, who was recently elected mayor. Negative votes came from all other council members at the meeting. Middle Ward council member Jennifer Mayo was absent.

Borough Manager E. Jean Krack said he and Finance Manager Stephen Nease could, if necessary, find room in the budget to add another officer without raising taxes. The proposed budget does include the addition of two persons to the streets department, one to sanitation and one to public works.

“We have looked at our projections, and we believe that, if it was council’s pleasure, that we could work on the revenue side to get some additional dollars,” Krack said.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/government-and-politics/20131113/phoenixville-rejects-hiring-additional-police-officer

Funds For More Cops, No Tax Hike In Proposed 2014 Wilkes-Barre Budget

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

WILKES-BARRE, PA – Mayor Tom Leighton proposed a $42.7 million 2014 budget Friday morning without any tax or fee hikes and with funding to hire additional police officers.

“My goal is to hire at least 10 new officers in 2014, but we will closely monitor the strength of city finances to hire as many officers as the general fund can afford,” Leighton said during his budget presentation at city hall.

City employees will receive a 3 percent raise. Leighton’s salary also will increase 3 percent for 2014 to $82,309. He said he has not taken a raise for the last seven years.

Read more:  http://citizensvoice.com/news/funds-for-more-cops-no-tax-hike-in-proposed-2014-w-b-budget-1.1567105

Reading City Council, Administration Haggle Over Several Issues At Budget Meetings

A 1947 topographic map of the Reading, Pennsyl...

A 1947 topographic map of the Reading, Pennsylvania area. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

How essential are the nine full-timers and three part-timers that Mayor Vaughn D. Spencer wants added to the proposed 2014 budget, including a media manager, a post that was so controversial last year?

Does the city want to keep $500,000 on reserve yet another year for the Central Pennsylvania African-American Museum’s proposed expansion, or use that money to spruce up parks?

Is the city’s outside consultants’ report – on Spencer’s plan to shift the property tax to a land-value tax – an endorsement of that plan?

Should the city drop earned income and commuter taxes by 0.1 percent as planned, or keep them flat because of coming budget woes?

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=515907