Possible Tax Hike Worries Elderly Homeowners



Recent release of the 2014 Luzerne County budget isn’t sitting well with county council member, Rick Morelli.

“We have a big hole. I’m just surprised we’re finding out about this now, today when we had all year to be somewhat informed,” said Morelli.

County manager, Robert Lawton released the 2014 budget for Luzerne County. It includes possible layoffs and an 8% property tax increase; the highest tax increase allowed by the county’s home-rule charter.

” Throughout the year we have been hearing all good things that we’re on budget. I’m surprised to see this 8% tax increase,” said Morelli.

Even with the tax hike the county has a  $2.8 million spending gap in its $127 million general fund budget for 2014. Morelli said if the unions don’t come back with some concession this year to help save the county money, there could be at least 100 layoffs between management and unions, which would affect the services provided to the county members.

This tax increase could affect the elderly of Greater Hazleton. Some are worried they won’t be able to afford it.

“It’s hard for everybody. I wasn’t born a millionaire. You can’t fight it,” said Eleanor Middleton.

Senior citizen and homeowner, Eleanor Middleton isn’t the only senior who pays for her home in Hazleton on a fixed income.With other expenses taking precedence over tax payments, seniors at Hazleton’s active adults center said on Wednesday, they’ll have to re-budget to accommodate the change. With a possible tax increase looming over the county, Morelli is calling the council back to the drawing board. The final budget is due Dec. 15.



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