8.5% tax hike looming in Bethlehem
Updated On: Nov 16 2012 06:07:27 PM CST
Folks living in Bethlehem say the last thing they need are higher taxes. But the mayor says that's exactly what he needs to balance his city's books. Mayor John Callahan is calling for an 8.5% increase in Bethlehem property taxes. He says the hike is modest but folks living and working in the city say it will be a hardship.
You could soon be paying more to live in Bethlehem. A budget proposal has homeowners and business owners paying 8.5% more in property taxes.
"That seems kind of steep for one year's worth of tax increase," said Harold Milton.
"It seems like a significant increase because I am a property owner," added Patricia Cunningham. "It affects me significantly."
Bethlehem Mayor John Callahan says the plan goes hand in hand with a new entertainment tax, and asking for voluntary contributions from non-profits like Lehigh University, Moravian College and Lehigh Valley Hospital Muhlenberg. The goal is to fill a $4-million hole caused by unfunded pensions.
"We're looking at about a $60 dollar increase for the average homeowner in Bethlehem," explained Callahan. "It's $5 a month so we think it's something that's reasonable in the tough economy given the services that you get in the city of Bethlehem."
But not everyone's on board with those figures. Main Street Bethlehem business and property owner Carmen Lobaido says she could be shelling out a large chunk of change with the proposed increase.
"It could be significant, I believe upwards of $1,000 a year."
Her building includes three store tenants and six apartments. She hasn't taken news of the possible spike lightly.
"A little upset and shocked because the economy is poor," shared Lobaido. "And what's going to be the repercussion, you know, are we going to have to raise rent? I mean hopefully it won't have to come down to that."
But it's still a real possibility. The proposed budget still needs approval from City Council.
Copyright 2012 WFMZ. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Crime Alert tip leads to bank robbery suspect's arrest
Pregnant woman fatally shot in East Norriton Twp.
Coroner: Poconos husband, wife die in apparent homicide/suicide
Police: Bethlehem father tries to press son's face onto hot stove
Traces of oil may be clue in search for plane
Woman admits to role in repeated sexual abuse of children
Man arrested 10 minutes after hit-and-run accident on Route 22
Go offline for National Day of Unplugging
Jury reaches verdict for man in sheriff's deputy's shooting death
Teenager rescues accident victims