Bethlehem May See a Tax Increase for 2013

Mayor Callahan tells business leaders that the city faces a $4.8 million shortfall next year without 'corrective action.' City's chief executive will deliver his budget proposal this afternoon.


Bethlehem Mayor John Callahan will release his 2013 budget proposal this afternoon and – based on what he told business leaders Thursday – it may contain a tax increase.

Callahan said the city is looking at a possible deficit of $4.8 million in 2013 without some “corrective action,” according to The Morning Call. Nearly $4 million of that shortfall is the result of increasing pension costs.

The city is facing a 55 percent increase in its minimum pension obligation that Pennsylvania requires its participating municipalities to pay each year, the newspaper reported. The city’s obligation rises from $7.2 million this year to $11.1 million in 2013.

In addition to a tax increase, the city is also looking at ways at reducing expenditures and increasing revenue. Five jobs will be eliminated, though none through layoffs, the mayor said at a business leaders breakfast hosted by the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce.

According to The Express Times, the city is also looking at changing its 911 dispatching system and hiring one single contract hauler to carry the city’s garbage – a move that would certainly draw vehement protests from private contract haulers and their supporters.

The mayor will release the details of his budget proposal at 2 p.m. in City Hall.

Chuck Hennet November 09, 2012 at 01:23 PM
I think one corrective action would have been to not put an expensive granite star in the middle of Main Street. (When WILL that project finish anyway?) That kind of spending is totally unneeded in this economy. Spend wisely during the lean times. Granite stars can have their day when and if the economy picks up.
Jim Reighty November 09, 2012 at 06:01 PM
Chuck, No city money was spent on the Star or other improvements on Main Street. It was paid for by Liberty Property Trust. Liberty Property Trust did the entire project. The project is suppose to be finished in 2 weeks or so, according to a business owner down there.
JMK November 09, 2012 at 06:42 PM
I must admit that it bothers me that when city pension/benefit costs go up, the taxpayer is continually looked to, to bear a significant share of that increase. I'm very sceptical about the process/focus that is used in separating the "nice from the necessary" when it comes to cost containment. Corporations review and make decisions to adjust expenditures all the time, knowing in this tough competitive environment, that raising their prices (while a valid strategy, in particular if there is a value-add to that increase) is a last resort in order to stay in the game. I do hope that all the rocks get turned before looking to the community to yet again take another hit to their pocket books.
Mrs Blooming November 09, 2012 at 07:31 PM
The expensive granite star was not paid for with tax dollars. A private donor is responsible for it.
Chuck Hennet November 11, 2012 at 03:04 AM
Thanks for the follow up on the granite star. I was not aware of that information.


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