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.