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Tax Increase Likely In Wyoming County

December 15, 2018

Wyoming County residents are facing a tax increase next year. County commissioners are unsure of how much taxes will rise in the 2019 county budget but said it could be about 1.5 mills. One mill represents a $1 increase in tax for every $1,000 assessed value. Commissioners will vote on the nearly $14.18 million 2019 budget at their Dec. 27 meeting. The tax hike is necessary because the total county assessed valuation dropped nearly $1.76 million over the past year, causing a $437,000 loss in revenue, Wyoming County Chief Clerk Bill Gaylord said during Tuesday’s commissioners meeting. “The county’s not growing where we want to go, but we’re stuck with that,” Gaylord said. On top of that, there will be a 4.4 percent increase in health care costs, he said. Increasing the tax rate by just one mill could generate about $408,000 in revenue, he said. While the 2019 proposed budget is lower than this year’s $15.87 million budget, Gaylord said the two budgets cannot be compared because considerable pass-through funds are being calculated differently in next year’s budget. In other business, Commissioner Judy Mead said about $78,481 collected from Wyoming County room taxes will be distributed as follows: $10,000 for wayfinding signs, $4,000 for the Tunkhannock Library; $3,850 for the Oldest House in Laceyville; $3,700 for the Wyoming County Chamber’s website; $12,500 for the Wyoming County Fair; $1,000 for the Hollo Wine Festival on the fairgrounds; $5,000 for Keystone College including for Christy Mathewson Day and The Gathering writer’s conference; $2,500 for Keystone College concerts; $1,931 for Nicholson Bridge brochures; $500 for Shakespeare in the Park at Tunkhannock’s Riverside Park; $5,800 for the Wyoming County Cultural Center’s four seasonal film festivals; $700 to promote Susquehanna River Day; $7,500 for the Dietrich Theater seasonal cultural offering brochures; $5,500 for a mural project; $1,500 for the Endless Mountains Heritage Region; and $12,500 for the Tunkhannock Business and Professional Association to marketing events, such as Founder’s Day and Christmas in Our Hometown. Commissioner Tom Henry said starting Thursday, Pennsylvania Health Secretary Rachel Levine would be making available through the local county heath offices, like the one in the Skyline complex, an open order for anyone seeking Naloxone, which reverses the effect of a prescription opioid or heroin overdose. Wyoming County Emergency Management Agency Director Eugene Dziak announced that some public assistance funds may be available to those affected by the August 9 through 13 flooding. An informational meeting will be held 6:30 p.m. Dec. 20, at the Wyoming County 911 Center, 3880 US-6, Tunkhannock. Contact the writer: bbaker@wcexaminer.com 570-836-2123 x33

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