Scranton Taxpayers React to Consultant Recommendations

Published 07/03 2014 02:15PM

Updated 07/03 2014 09:51PM

Scranton, Lackawanna County-People in Scranton reacted Thursday to the recommendations of a financial consultant that were released Wednesday night.

The ideas call for raising taxes and fees and selling off city assets.

Consultant Henry Amoroso has been looking at the city's finances for the last six months.

Wednesday night, Amoroso released his 66-page report saying the city has to get its financial house in order now but taxpayers aren't so happy with some of his ideas.

Jim Abbott has lived on Price Street in West Scranton for 25 years.

He doesn't like the recommendations.

"I think we're being ripped off. That's what I think," Abbott said.

One of the key proponents of the consultant's plan is to raise taxes for each of the next three years, by 18-percent, six percent and four percent respectively.

"They seem to want to get the little guy and squeeze him for everything they can get out of him," Abbott said.

On North Lincoln Avenue, Katie Scott has lived in her home for the last ten years.

She didn't like hearing the recommendation of tripling the local services tax, from $52 right now to $156.00.

"It makes me angry. It makes me very angry. Everything is going up but paychecks. The people that own houses in Scranton are stuck. They want out because everything is just a mess, taxes keep going up but you can't afford to get out because nobody is buying houses in Scranton," Katie Scott said.

Other recommendations of the consultant include selling the Scranton Sewer Authority, the Scranton Parking Authority and all of the city's parking garages.

Consultant Henry Amoroso says reopening union contracts also needs to be done.

"I think everybody has to pull back. I think all the unions have to. I think they have to consider the people," Meg Shumaker of South Scranton said.

Many people say taxes have gone up too much already, including a recent hike in the garbage fee and they hope the mayor and city council take a long hard look at each idea.

"I hope and pray but I'm not holding my breathe," Scott said.

"I think they ought to be very careful about raising taxes and where the money is going and it's not being used by corrupt politicians which exist everywhere," Shumaker said.

Another recommendation calls for a tax, many refer to it as a commuter tax, of three-quarters of a percent which would go directly to addressing the city's pension crisis. The consultant believes that move alone would raise $5.1 million.

It will now be up to Mayor Bill Courtright, the Scranton business administrator and city council members to decide which recommendations they would like to pursue.

Copyright 2016 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

comments powered by Disqus