Pittston raises earned income tax as part of 2018 budget approval

By Jimmy Fisher - jfisher@timesleader.com
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PITTSTON — Council members Wednesday approved the city’s 2018 budget, which calls for no hike in homeowner property taxes, but a small hike in the earned income tax.

The budget currently totals $6,724,658 with a millage rate of 6.85. A mill is $1 in taxes for every $1,000 in assessed property value.

Meanwhile, the earned income tax was boosted from 1.50 percent to 1.95 percent.

The council members voted 3-1 on the motion, with Councilman Danny Argo voting no and Councilman Joe McClean absent.

Also approved was increasing the Homestead Property Exemption by 10 percent to provide additional city property tax relief for owner-occupied homes in 2018.

“The homestead exemption is a critical initiative in that it gives consideration to homeowners,” said Mayor-elect Michael Lombardo. “This initiative has significant impact for our retired property owners who are on fixed incomes. It represents an additional 10 percent reduction. Pittston City is the only community in the Northeast that gives this form of property tax relief.”

Also during the meeting, the council approved a motion to establish a part-time administrative position of city controller, which will be filled by Chris Latona.

The controller will have oversight over all expenditures and will ensure expenses are appropriate. He will also be a signer on all city checking accounts.

Latona currently holds the position. But, according to City Administrator Joe Moskovitz, it was originally an elected position that after 2017 would no longer be available under the city’s home rule charter.

He said the position was created to keep Latona with Pittston’s government.

In other business, the council members…

• Approved a resolution to temporarily close a portion of Spring Street and restrict parking on North and South Main Street for the St. Patrick’s Parade in March.

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By Jimmy Fisher

jfisher@timesleader.com

WHAT’S NEXT

Pittston City Council will hold a reorganizational meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 2, at city hall, 35 Broad St. The regular monthly meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 17

Reach Jimmy Fisher at 570-704-3972 or on Twitter @SD_JimmyFisher

Reach Jimmy Fisher at 570-704-3972 or on Twitter @SD_JimmyFisher