W-B Recycling Fee Increase Appears Headed For Defeat

February 8, 2019

WILKES-BARRE — The city’s proposed recycling fee  increase — already included in Mayor Tony George’s 2019 budget — now appears headed toward defeat after city council split 2-2 at Thursday night’s council meeting on whether to approve the hike.

Reached after the meeting, Councilman Tony Brooks, who was absent, confirmed he would vote against the increase if it came up for a vote again.

“I was overwhelmed the last two days by Facebook messages from my constituents who feel they are taxed too much,” Brooks wrote in a text message.

George’s budget proposed increasing the annual recycling fee by $10 to $60.

Council members Beth Gilbert and Bill Barrett voted against the increase. Mike Merritt and Mike Belusko voted to approve the increase.

The money was already budgeted for 2019 and was expected to bring in around $175,000.

Council approved George’s budget 4-1, with Gilbert casting the lone no voted.

“Just for the record, the increase was factored into the 2019 budget,” City Solicitor Tim Henry reminded council. 

Henry said the issue could be put the agenda again.

“If it got voted down, technically we could have a 2019 budget that is not fully funded,” Henry said.

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