This year, a little city tax increase will be too much

The expense requests for the 2017 Williamsport city budget are up $500,000 for 2017 in comparison to 2016. That represents a 2.2-percent increase, which is not outlandish. But it’s too much in the context of the huge tax increase that accompanied this year’s budget. Mayor Gabriel J. Campana, upbeat about the modest spending increases, said there won’t be a repeat of the large tax increase. That’s great, but we are guessing city taxpayers want no tax increase. Granted, most of the spending increases have a lot to do with rising health care costs for city employees. Those costs are up 6 percent. We understand a certain amount of that is uncontrollable. That makes it incumbent on the administration and City Council to find ways to save money to avoid any tax increase. Taxpayers swallowed hard to pay a hefty increase in city taxes this year. Part of their understanding was that they would get a break from a city tax increase this year. It’s no easy tasky, but we hope that City Council and the administration will find a way to deliver on that assumption during the coming city budget talks.