Taxes rise in many Luzerne lo­cal­i­ties

Ha­zle­ton had one of the small­est in­creases, but con­tin­ues to have one of the high­est over­all rates.

The Hazleton Standard-Speaker - - LOCAL - BY BILL WELLOCK StAff Friter Con­tact the writer: [email protected]­i­zensvoice.com; 570-821-2051; @CVBillF

Mu­nic­i­pal taxes went up in 15 Luzerne County mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties in 2019.

The per­cent in­crease ranged from about 2 per­cent in Ha­zle­ton (al­beit start­ing from the high­est tax rate of mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties that raised taxes) to a 112 per­cent in­crease in Wy­oming.

One mu­nic­i­pal­ity, Den­ni­son Twp., low­ered its lo­cal prop­erty tax rate.

Prop­erty taxes are cal­cu­lated in mil­lages. A mill is a $1 tax for ev­ery $100,000 in as­sessed prop­erty value.

A $100,000 prop­erty in Ha­zle­ton, where the 2019 mill­age is 5.96, owes $596 in mu­nic­i­pal prop­erty taxes this year.

County taxes, which are un­changed from 2018, are 5.9754 mills, or an ad­di­tional an­nual tax of $597.54 for that same hy­po­thet­i­cal $100,000 prop­erty.

That doesn’t in­clude school taxes, which vary by dis­trict.

The is­sue date — the date on which the pay­ment clock for county and mu­nic­i­pal taxes be­gins tick­ing — is Feb. 4 for most res­i­dents.

If those res­i­dents pay county and lo­cal prop­erty taxes by April 3, they get a 2 per­cent dis­count. Af­ter that date but be­fore June 3 is the face pe­riod, when 100 per­cent of the bill is due. On June 4, the penalty pe­riod be­gins.

For res­i­dents in a few mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties — Buck Twp., Conyn­g­ham Twp., Den­ni­son Twp., Jeddo and Ross Twp. — the is­sue date is Feb. 13. That’s be­cause those mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties were still wait­ing to set­tle 2018 ac­counts. Res­i­dents there will still have two months from Feb. 13 to re­ceive a dis­count.

And in one bor­ough — Court­dale — res­i­dents are still wait­ing for an is­sue date. That’s be­cause the tax col­lec­tor there re­cently re­signed, said Laura Beers, Luzerne County Trea­surer’s Of­fice man­ager.

Tax bills in­clude in­struc­tions for pay­ment.

New this year is an en­closed win­dow en­ve­lope that tax­pay­ers can use to send pay­ments to their tax col­lec­tor. The re­verse of the bot­tom of the tax bill shows the tax col­lec­tor’s name and ad­dress. Slide it into the en­closed en­ve­lope so the tax col­lec­tor’s ad­dress is vis­i­ble in the win­dow and send it in.

Pay­ments must be re­ceived or post­marked by the U.S. Postal Ser­vice by the due date.

Tax­pay­ers in the county’s four cities can pay their county por­tion on the county’s web­site at www.luzerne county.org, but those cities han­dle their own lo­cal taxes.

Tax­pay­ers in New­port Twp. can pay county and lo­cal taxes on­line be­cause the county is the town­ship’s tax col­lec­tor.

For people pay­ing on­line through a bank, those pay­ments can take up to three weeks to be pro­cessed. Those pay­ments cre­ate a pa­per check, but it will ar­rive in bulk mail and won’t have a nor­mal post­mark. People pay­ing near the end of the dis­count or face value pe­riod might want to avoid this method.

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