Easton finalizes 2024 budget with trash collection and parking fees going up
EASTON, Pa. — Easton City Council approved measures putting the final pieces of the 2024 budget into place during Tuesday’s meeting, with increases in parking and garbage fees.
Council met on Tuesday this week due to the holiday, approving an ordinance providing revenues and appropriating specific sums for the upcoming budget, and setting the tax rate for 2024.
Following a series of committee meetings analyzing and adjusting the specifics of the budget for the new year, City Administrator Luis Campos noted the 2024 budget was balanced, and that residents would see increases in fees linked to parking and garbage collection in the upcoming year.
“In parking, we decreased the off-season, hourly fee in the garage so they went from $2 and $3 to $1. And then during the peak season, when everyone comes to places like Crayola, and there's more people, more tourists coming to the city, those garage fees jump up to $3.”Easton City Administrator Luis Campos
City residents expressed some cause for concern earlier this year when contracts for garbage collection were put out for bid. Two resolutions with three successive one-year contracts connected to trash and recycling – handled by Waste Connections and Waste Management, respectively – were confirmed, followed shortly by a new $2.4 million contract with Whitetail Disposal for transportation of garbage and recyclables.
Mayor Sal Panto Jr. at the time noted the change in rates would result in a household increase of about $11 per month, though the city was able to absorb some of the cost via budget adjustments.
Garbage rates will still increase by $5 per month, or $60 per year.
Campos said a 1% increase in earned income taxes and adjustments to parking rates helped to make up the difference.
Regular street parking is set to increase from $1 to $1.50 in most locations, and $2 in Centre Square and “the spokes,” that being single blocks of streets stemming from Centre Square.
Changes to the parking rates at the city’s garages will also see some adjustment, though Campos pointed out the bump is largely targeted to put the expense on visitors to the city, not residents.
“In parking, we decreased the off-season, hourly fee in the garage so they went from $2 and $3 to $1,” Campos said. “And then during the peak season, when everyone comes to places like Crayola, and there's more people, more tourists coming to the city, those garage fees jump up to $3.”
The prospective 2024 budget came in at $38,647.800, a 2.4% increase over 2023, though the city did absorb a substantial portion of the $892,803 bump.
Millage for the city is set at 24.95 mills per each dollar of assessed valuation, consisting of 12.99 mills set or for general city purposes, 7.59 mills for debt fund real estate taxes, and 4.37 set for recreational fund real estate taxes.
According to Campos, “it seems like council as a whole was supportive of this budget,” with the meetings leading up to Tuesday’s session playing out smoothly.
A final vote for the 2024 Easton budget is set for 6 p.m. on Dec. 13 at Easton City Hall.