AP NEWS

Hearing Planned On W-B Budget

November 7, 2018

WILKES-BARRE — City council will hold a public hearing on Mayor Tony George’s 2019 proposed budget at 6 p.m. Thursday in council chambers, fourth floor, city hall, at which citizens may offer their input. George’s proposal contains no tax increases, but he did propose a 20 percent hike in the recyclables collection fee — from $50 to $60. He had said it’s necessary because international trade tensions turned the market for recycled materials “upside down,” and disposing of recyclables, which was once a source of income for the city, “will now be another expenditure that the city must fund.” The fee increase would cost residents an extra 20 cents per week. The $50,434,206 balanced budget, which represents a nearly $1 million increase over this year’s spending plan, includes salary increases of 3 percent for police personnel and freezes wages for all other city employees. After the hearing, council may adopt the budget with or without amendment. An amended budget that increases or decreases funding by more than 5 percent, or adds or deletes a program, must go back to the mayor for comment and be returned to council within three work days. Council must schedule another public hearing within five days of the mayor resubmitting an amended budget. Council must adopt the budget on or before Dec. 31. If council fails to do so, the budget as last submitted by the mayor shall be in effect. A regular council meeting will follow the hearing. A vote on the budget is not on that meeting agenda. If special accommodations are required for people with disabilities, notify Nicole Ference at 570-208-4134 or email her at nference@wilkes-barre.pa.us in advance. — STEVE MOCARSKY

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