Hazleton Mayor Joseph Yannuzzi vetoed a nearly $9.3 million budget for 2015 that was ratified by city council about a week ago.
Yannuzzi announced the development in memorandums to city council on Monday and will for a second consecutive year set up a budget showdown with the governing body. A dispute over competing versions of the 2014 budget went before a judge and has not yet been resolved.
The mayor said he vetoed an ordinance that sets the tax rate and related legislation because they do not conform with the version of the budget that he presented.
Yannuzzi listed 12 reasons in a second memorandum for vetoing a fourth budget-related ordinance and argues that amendments made by council leave the city with an unbalanced budget.
Property taxes will not increase in Hazleton in 2015, according to a tentative $9.28 million spending plan that city council approved Wednesday.
But it will cost more to sell a property.
Council approved on second reading a balanced, $9.28 million budget that eliminates a tax increase that the mayor wanted to implement for awarding raises to a handful of nonunion employees. The budget also scraps a controversial maintenance fee for the stormwater system.
The spending plan approved Wednesday makes up for that lost tax and stormwater revenue by infusing $400,000 from a defunct sewage transmission fee account into other parts of the general fund budget. The city’s share of the real estate transfer tax was also increased by 0.5 percent — to 1 percent — and boosts revenue projections by $150,000.
Hazleton City Council is no closer to finalizing a 2015 budget.
Council voted 4-1 on Thursday to table the spending plan on second reading after voting on a number of amendments that put revenue projections some $619,000 below estimated expenditures.
Council will take another crack at amending the estimated $9.3 million spending plan on Wednesday.
The vote to shelve the budget followed a heated disagreement between Mayor Joseph Yannuzzi and council President Jack Mundie over a stormwater fee that was originally levied by a previous council majority for 2013 only — but is included in next year’s spending plan.
The debate ended with the mayor walking out of the forum during an argument with Mundie.