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City Council Adopts 2013 Budget, 7% Tax Increase

In final meeting of 2012, Bethlehem City Council votes 6-1 in favor of a $71 million budget and a 7 percent real estate tax hike.

 

Bethlehem City Council voted to adopt a 2013 budget with a 7 percent real estate tax increase and a new tax on concert and event tickets on Thursday night, according to The Express Times.

Councilman David DiGiacinto was the lone dissenter in the 6-1 vote in favor of adoption, the newspaper reported.

Some facts about the $71 million spending plan:

  • The 7 percent tax hike translates into an increase of 1.04 mills – an average hike of $52 for the year for a typical property owner with an assessed home value of $50,000.
  • There will be a new amusement tax of no more than $1.50 per ticket for concerts and other large events at the Sands Bethlehem Event Center, the Musikfest Café and Musikfest. Funds derived from the tax will be devoted to police, fire and emergency medical services.
  • About three-quarters of the real estate tax hike -- .76 mills -- will be devoted exclusively to the continued operation of the city’s 911 emergency dispatching center. Bethlehem is unique in Pennsylvania – as it, along with neighboring Allentown, are the only municipalities to have their own 911 call centers. It is a county-run function everywhere else in the state.

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