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Tired of Taxes: Scrantonians Facing Triple Tax Hit

SCRANTON, Pa. — A triple whammy of taxes — that’s what could be in store for residents in Scranton. Budgets for the city, school district, and...

SCRANTON, Pa. -- A triple whammy of taxes -- that's what could be in store for residents in Scranton.

Budgets for the city, school district, and the county all call for a tax hike.

"A lot of the older senior citizens, they can't really afford all these taxes, but politicians don't seem to really care," Bob Miscavage said.

  • City property taxes are set to go up 2.4 percent. That works out to about $14 more a year for the average homeowner.
  • If the amended 2020 county budget passes, county property taxes will increase 11.3 percent, about $80 more a year for the average homeowner.
  • With the school district's 3.4 percent tax hike, the average homeowner is looking to dish out about $45 more a year.

"I feel I can't afford them anymore. yes, I agree we should pay into our city taxes for schools because I went there for so long but I'm 79, I've paid my way," Charlene Hanis said.

Taxpayers we spoke to are concerned about the perception of their city as a high tax area. They say people are moving out, and no one wants to move in.

But Judy Cerra, a realtor for Berkshire Hathaway who has sold homes in Scranton for a decade, isn't worried.

"People, they call me every day, they want to be in Scranton. I don't think the taxes are going to be an effect on that. Everybody pays taxes, some pay a little more. It comes down to where do you want to be and where do you want to live. People want to live in the hub," Cerra said.

Scranton School Board member Katie Gilmartin says the tax hike will help make the city a more desirable place to live in the long run. She hopes city and county officials can prove to taxpayers that the return on their investment was well worth the sacrifice. Plus, she says the city needs a tax hike now to avoid an even bigger tax increase in the future.

"You really have to be able to take that long-term view and understand that even something that may seem unpopular at this moment may be saving the taxpayer, the citizens, from a greater hardship down the road," Gilmartin said.

The city's 2020 budget has already become law, and the school district budget has been approved.

The only thing left to make this a triple whammy is the county's budget. it was reopened on Wednesday and the county commissioners will vote on the amended budget next week.