Burrell caps tax increase at 2.2%
The Burrell School Board committed to keeping any 2013-14 property tax increase within the state-formulated inflation index of 2.2 percent.
That index would cap a tax increase at about 1.88 mills, according to Business Manager Jennifer Callahan. The district's current property tax rate is 85.4 mills.
Districts must alert the Pennsylvania Department of Education by January if they plan to keep tax increases within the inflation-based index. If they anticipate needing to exceed the index, districts must request an exception from the state or put the proposed increase to the voters as a ballot referendum.
Tuesday's unanimous action by Burrell's school board does not necessarily mean next school year's tax increase will be 1.88 mills, but does guarantee any potential increase would not exceed that amount.
The board in June raised property taxes for this school year by 1.9 mills, or about 2.3 percent.
The board will consider refinancing a 2005 bond issue at its next meeting in February.
Callahan said she routinely monitors market conditions with the district's financial advisers. They agree it would be advantageous to refinance about $8.6 million in debt the district assumed during the Huston Middle School renovation project.
They estimate the district could save about $700,000 by refinancing, which likely would drop the average interest rates on those bonds from 5 percent to about 3 percent.
“We're at a historic trough in interest rates and we need to take advantage of it because they will go up,” said board member Scott Fisher.
Callahan said the savings would be spread out over about seven fiscal years.
The district annually makes about $2.9 million in debt payments.
It has a total outstanding debt of almost $32 million, Callahan said.
The bulk of the debt comes from the 2005 bonds, which total about $25 million. The rest of the debt is from 2009 bonds, which were a refinancing of a 1999 issue and are expected to be paid off in 2016.
Callahan said she will ask the district's bond counsel to attend the board's Feb. 12 meeting to finalize the details and possibly take action.
She said the refinancing process takes some time, but they want to move as quickly as possible to take advantage of the low rates.
Liz Hayes is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Highlands Area Meals on Wheels recovers from burst water pipe
- Harrison fire victim helps others while on road to recovery
- Expenses rise, taxes hold in West Deer
- Harmar-based company’s expansion into Tarentum adds jobs
- 4 plead guilty to charges of luring, beating man at Harrison gas station
- Authorities investigating grocery store robberies in Plum, Monroeville
- Butler County initiative aims to find employment for struggling job-seekers
- Hays ‘eagle cams’ reinstalled for 2015 nesting season
- 3 charged in East Deer home invasion