Pedri Presents 2018 Proposed Luzerne County Budget

County Council Has Until December 15 to Decide

WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV)   Luzerne County taxpayers: Get ready to pay more in taxes next year.   County Manager Dave Pedri  presented the 2018 spending package to county council on Tuesday night.
   I-Team's Andy Mehalshick  has more on what it means to taxpayers.

  Luzerne County Manager Dave Pedri insists he has looked at the 2018 budget from all angles and says a two percent tax hike is needed to pay the bills.

"Listen everything goes up any homeowners knows that costs go up in your house.." Said Pedri.

And for the county those rising costs include..

 "We have one million dollars increase in the luzerne county pensions a $700,000 dollar increase with our healthcare and over $600,000 in contracted union raises so that's $2.3 million dollars and we haven't even gotten out the door yet."

Two percent tax hike:  A person who owns a home valued at $100,000 will see a one dollar a month increase in taxes..or $12 dollars a year.-from $600 dollars per year to $612.00 a year.

 Taxpayers like Jason Carr of Wilkes-Barre doesn't think there should be any tax increase..

 "I think there are many other opportunites to reduce the budget rather than increase the budget with layoffs and reduced services."

County Council has the final say.  Eyewitness News spoke to councilmenber Tim McGinley before- he saw the budget and says he will keep an open mind..

 "I think you are seeing our financial situation is better obviously with creditors and banks in new york giving us a credit rating is key to resolving issues we  have been dealing with our debt service." noted McGinley

The biggest challenge is paying off a outstanding debt of more than $300 million dollars. Pedri says the good news is that debt number was once $450 million dollars.
County Council has until December 15th to pass a budget..
They can re-work this plan or come up with it's own spending package for 2018

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