Leechburg Area School Board petitions for tax increase
The Leechburg Area School Board is petitioning the state to raise 2014-15 taxes beyond the 3 percent rate the district was limited to in December.
Next school year's preliminary budget, which the board passed 6-0 on Thursday, calls for a 4.2 percent tax increase in Armstrong County and a 3.2 percent hike in West Leechburg, Westmoreland County.
The rates are subject to change, but the proposed increases would raise district real estate taxes by 2.75 mills, to 67.65 mills in Armstrong County, and by 3.41, to 109.97 mills in West Leechburg.
The board was required to pass its $13.6 million preliminary budget by a Feb. 19 deadline because the district is seeking an exemption for rising retirement costs on the state's 3 percent index.
The district's retirement costs are projected to jump $304,000 next year. Despite the board capping wage increases at 3 percent, Business Manager Mark Lukacs is expecting an increase of $190,000.
Health care costs are projected to jump 10 percent, or $195,000.
The proposed tax increases, Leechburg Area's first in four years, will generate about $260,000 for the district to help offset its additional costs.
Prior to the state passing in 2006 the Taxpayer Relief Act, also known as Act 1, districts weren't required to pass a preliminary budget until May. Lukacs said passing a preliminary budget in February presents challenges because it's unclear at this time of the year what type of funding it will receive from the governor's budget.
“We're between a rock and a hard place,” he said. “Obviously, we never want to raise taxes, but we have to be prepared for the worst.
“These figures might drop significantly by the time (the budget) is finalized in June — it all depends.”
The administration will meet Feb. 20 to work on trimming the budget, said interim Superintendent Frank Prazenica. The board will hold a budget workshop meeting on March 10.
Lukacs said it was unclear from which areas the district would likely make cuts.
Braden Ashe is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4673 or email@example.com.
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.
- Hays ‘eagle cams’ reinstalled for 2015 nesting season
- Generous Leechburg boy receives Christmas surprise from secret Santa
- Bed and breakfast proposed at former Liperote Mansion in South Buffalo Township
- Arnold Stop-n-Go robbed
- Valley choir ‘shows’ off at Mills Mall
- Monroeville man charged with bad-check racket
- Expenses rise, taxes hold in West Deer
- Indiana Township man charged with third molestation offense
- Man shot in New Kensington
- Safety of shipping oil by rail addressed in appropriations bill
- ATI dropping company-sponsored life insurance plan for Ludlum retirees