Skip to main content

Lehighton budget

Published December 17. 2013 05:00PM

It doesn't sound like much.

Lehighton Borough Council agreed to increase taxes just one mill this year.

There are other things to consider about the budget, though, which make the cost to taxpayers greater than projected.

The one mill increase comes atop a two-mill hike set only two years ago.

In addition, the borough is adding a local services tax of $52, replacing the $10 occupational privilege tax. This means an additional $42 per year is coming out the pocket of each person who works in the borough.

On top of this, the council is considering adding a 5 percent cable tax. This would be applied to the local cable supplier, Blue Ridge Communications, which would then be passed onto consumers.

The budget is expected to be adopted during a meeting of the council at 9:15 a.m. Friday in the Lehighton Municipal Building.

The additional revenue is needed to pay for security measures in the municipal building, pay for a 9 percent increase in health insurance, and pay for additional costs in employee pension costs, explained Borough Manager Nicole Beckett.

Lehighton is in a unique position. It owns its own electric distribution system. The Light and Power Company contributes hundreds of thousands of dollars to the general fund of the borough.

So why, then, does the borough have to add three different tax increases this year: the millage hike, the services tax, and the cable tax?

The cable tax is the most unfair. It applies only to local cable TV subscribers, meaning Dish TV customers aren't affected. This is like owning a local store, having a hefty tax applied, while outside firms come in and have no taxes applied.

The courts should look at the cable tax and make it illegal since it only applies to certain TV service providers.

Here's another thing that Lehighton should consider regarding the cable tax.

Blue Ridge Cable, which is the borough cable TV supplier, has its office and call center in Lehighton. Over 125 people are employed there for which the borough derives local services tax, real estate taxes, and other benefits.

It's understandable that municipalities are having tough times with their budgets. But Lehighton is better off than most other communities.

Incidentally, besides the tax increases, remember that the borough's electric rates are higher than other electricity providers such as PPL Electric. Because the borough owns its own electric company, residents cannot shop for competitive rates like PPL customers can.

Hopefully, the borough reviews its budget proposal before Friday and reconsiders the cable tax.

It is not a fair or justifiable assessment.


Classified Ads

Event Calendar


October 2017


Twitter Feed

Reader Photo Galleries