Baldwin-Whitehall looks to increase property taxes
Baldwin-Whitehall School District property owners could see taxes rise if board members approve next fiscal year's budget in June.
The question that remains, however, is: by how much?
The proposed $67.7 million budget, adopted in May, calls for a 0.47-mill tax hike. This means if a homeowner owns a house valued at $100,000, then their taxes will increase by $47 a year.
The district millage rate would be 20.84 mills. Some board members have discussed raising the millage rate to 0.63 mills, the maximum property tax increased allowed by the state without an exception.
The current district budget is $66.4 million and the board raised taxes that year by .36 mills,
As in previous years, the biggest expenses for the district are salary increases — $575,000 and $350,000 in state-mandated pension obligations. Also, the district pays $350,000 in debt service and $300,000 in special education costs.
Outside of personnel costs, the district is faced with making much-needed upgrades at three of its five schools. A study done by the district's architects, last year found Paynter Elementary was in poor condition, while J.E. Harrison Middle School and McAnnulty Elementary were categorized as fair. Both Whitehall Elementary and Baldwin High School were said to be in good condition.
Superintendent Randal Lutz has said improvements could run as much as $40 million and includes putting a new roof on the middle school and replacing much of its electrical system. The buildings also need to be reconfigured to accommodate a projected growth in enrollment in the district.