W-B recycling fee hike headed for defeat – News

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Councilman Bill Barrett looks on during a Wilkes-Barre City Council meeting on Thursday, Feb. 9, 2017.Christopher Dolan / Staff Photographer

Photo: N/A, License: N/A, Created: 2017:02:09 19:40:57

Council chairperson Beth Gilbert looks on during a Wilkes-Barre City Council meeting on Thursday, Feb. 9, 2017.Christopher Dolan / Staff Photographer


WILKES-BARRE — The city’s proposed recycling fee increase — already included in Mayor Tony George’s 2019 budget — now appears headed toward defeat after city council split 2-2 at Thursday night’s council meeting on whether to approve the hike.


Reached after the meeting, Councilman Tony Brooks, who was absent, confirmed he would vote against the increase if it came up for a vote again.


“I was overwhelmed the last two days by Facebook messages from my constituents who feel they are taxed too much,” Brooks wrote in a text message.


George’s budget proposed increasing the annual recycling fee by $10 to $60.


Council members Beth Gilbert and Bill Barrett voted against the increase. Mike Merritt and Mike Belusko voted to approve the increase.


The money was already budgeted for 2019 and was expected to bring in around $175,000.


Council approved George’s budget 4-1, with Gilbert casting the lone no voted.


 


“Just for the record, the increase was factored into the 2019 budget,” City Solicitor Tim Henry reminded council.


Henry said the issue could be put the agenda again.


“If it got voted down, technically we could have a 2019 budget that is not fully funded,” Henry said.


George’s City Administrator Rick Gazenski, who attended the meeting, said the increase was needed to cover increased costs for the city.


“This was already put into the budget, so I don’t know what the next step will be,” Gazenski said.


Contact the writer:


bkalinowski@citizensvoice.com


570-821-2055, @cvbobkal



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