Jeannette ups earned income tax |

Jeannette ups earned income tax

Jeannette Council raised the earned-income tax Wednesday and approved a preliminary 2015 budget that holds the line on property taxes.

In a unanimous vote, the board hiked the tax for the second consecutive year from 1.5 to 2 percent to catch up on employee pension obligations.

“Without the increase, the city faces a critical phase in any future recovery,” said Mayor Richard Jacobelli. “This city is poised to emerge from a distressed municipality to one that can fully pay its obligations.”

The 0.5 percent increase is projected to bring in about $600,000 for 2015 — revenue that would be directed to the city’s annual pension payments, some of which are overdue.

Once the city is able to get caught up with the state-mandated obligations, “this tax is required to be eliminated,” said Solicitor Scott Avolio. City manager Bruce Jamison said he hopes that will happen within the next two years.

“This is a monumental amount of funding that we need to get caught up,” Jamison said. “The time is now to step in while we still can and put this pension on its feet.”

The city is required to make about $1 million in annual pension payments for police, fire and municipal employees. Payments for 2013 are overdue, and if the city can’t fully fund its 2014 obligation, that outstanding figure will be rolled over to 2015. Jamison has said he hopes to have the remainder of the 2013 obligation paid by the end of 2014.

Jacobelli and Councilmen Mark Levander and Gabriel Homan voted in favor of the increase. Councilman Mark Clark was absent.

Homan previously voted against the increase, though acknowledging that it would be a quick way to remedy the financial situation. He explained during the meeting that council and city officials need to begin examining the future and managing for a population decline in addition to seeking additional revenue.

Council also accepted the resignation of former councilman Bill Bedont, who is moving.

Letters of interest are being accepted by the city until Dec. 1 for residents wishing to fill his unexpired term that runs through the end of 2015, Avolio said. Officials plan to conduct interviews during a public session in December. Council has 30 days to fill the vacated seat.

Renatta Signorini is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-837-5374 or [email protected].

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.