City of Shamokin maintains court approved tax increase

 

SUNBURY- Shamokin residents will continue to pay the same tax rate. Wednesday, Northumberland County Judge Hugh Jones approved the maintaining of a 35 mill tax rate and 2 percent Earned Income Tax rate for the city.  This is the 12th consecutive year for the higher tax rate, which required permission. The approval keeps the tax rate at 5 mills above the maximum and one percent above the EIT maximum.

 

Ryan Hottenstein, Senior Vice President with Financial Solutions, Shamokin’s ACT 47 Coordinator, explained the necessity for the maintained millage increase, “It’s really a result of low assessed evaluations, primarily, because of the amount of time between the county’s last reassessment, and as such, they are at their cap for the limit on ability to raise taxes, so that runs into a problem where they don’t have any alternative as far as raising tax revenue.”

 

Shamokin City Solicitor Frank Konopka, says the city is taking steps toward reducing the need for tax increases, “The city has hired a firm to more aggressively go after the people who aren’t paying their taxes. But even so, that’s not going to be enough to balance the budget.”

 

Konopka also says the city may be able to have an extension with Act 47 for another three years, “We were supposed to exit at the end of this year. But, apparently, there is a provision in the state that you can get an extra three years to try to improve a situation. If it doesn’t improve after three years, we go out of Act 47. I don’t know what will happen but it won’t be good.”

 

Konopka says that if state legislature would allow third class cities to raise EIT, the city could balance the budget, “If the state legislature would allow third class cities to increase their earned income tax to two percent, I think by the end of three years we would be able to balance the budget without the extra five mills, but without that, that’s $800,000.”

 

The budget will be approved in the near future.

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