Scranton, Lackawanna County - The budget crunch is on for counties and cities across northeastern and central Pennsylvania.
Commissioners in Lackawanna County unveiled their proposed 2013 spending plan Monday afternoon in Scranton.
The highlights include a proposed four-percent property tax increase and the elimination of approximately 20 county positions.
If approved, commissioners say the tax increase would cost the average household an extra $30 a year.
"I believe like everyone else that it is terrible," Salvatore DeNucci of Dunmore said. "That's all they know how to do is raise taxes."
On the streets, there is mixed reaction to the spending plan.
"Everything goes up and as soon as you realize that you just have to adjust to the situation," Matt O'Malley of Scranton said. "Four percent is not that bad."
It was standing room only Monday as the budget was unveiled.
Commissioners say the job eliminations would save Lackawanna County about $1.2 million.
"It's tough on families that are going to be going forward but it's our job to be fiscally responsible. We're saying we're not just raising taxes but we're cutting where necessary," Commissioner Jim Wansacz said.
Commissioners blame the increased taxes on federal mandates that will require more prison staff, also with health care costs and contract obligations.
Taxes also went up in 2012 (this year) by 38-percent.
Despite the proposed tax hike and job cuts, the budget still calls for economic development initiatives that will cost more than $1 million.
"We need to bring jobs here and we've been waiting for other people to get that job done. Nobody has gotten it done. We now need to step in here and we need to lead," Commissioner Corey O'Brien said.
Public meetings on the budget will be held Tuesday night in Blakely, Wednesday night in Clarks Summit and Thursday night in Carbondale.
For more information, visit www.lackawannacounty.org.