Elizabeth Forward board approves budget with no tax increase
Elizabeth Forward School District's board of directors approved a $39,238,827 budget for fiscal 2014-15 on Wednesday with no increase in real estate taxes — and no need for a $3-a-ton landfill tax.
“We balanced the budget without that revenue,” director of finance and operations Richard Fantauzzi said before the 7-2 vote on the spending plan and 8-1 vote on retaining a 20.6052-mill tax rate.
“That revenue” could have come from a “landfill operations privilege tax” set up in a resolution approved in a 5-3 board vote on April 23.
The sole entity that would be covered by that tax is Waste Management's Kelly Run landfill along Route 51 in Forward Township.
The president of an organization representing Kelly Run and other landfills said the Local Tax Enabling Act of 1965 providing a basis for the tax was pre-empted by Act 101 of 1988 which established host municipality benefit fees.
Board president Philip Martell pointed out that the district has gone three years without a property tax hike. Director Megan Ferraro said it may be too tight of a plan not just for this year but for years to come.
She pointed to the state's Act 1 index. The school board voted earlier this year not to raise taxes beyond the rate set for the district by the state Department of Education, 0.618 mills.
As the district pointed out in a statement after the vote, there's an $829,000 increase in pension contributions within a budget only $402,000 or 1.04 percent larger than that for the year ending June 30.
Fantauzzi added another factor during a workshop preceding the vote: There was a $16 million reduction in property values because of appeals.
“That $16 million translates into $301,000 of real estate tax revenue,” the district finance director told the board, “so we will operate with $301,000 less.”
Ferraro and board vice president Michael O'Rourke voted no on the budget while O'Rourke voted no on the tax rate.
Ferraro and O'Rourke voted no on eliminating a kindergarten class at Central Elementary, a first grade at William Penn Elementary, a fourth grade at Mt. Vernon Elementary and one English class and half-credit Spanish and business education classes at the high school, while producing a kindergarten at William Penn, a second grade at Central, a fifth grade at Mt. Vernon and a half-credit of Spanish and half-credit Entertainment Technology Academy class at the high school.
Martell, board treasurer Charles Bakewell and directors Jamie Evans, Scott McVicker, Margaret Morgan, Francis Posa and Dorothy Wycoff voted yes.
O'Rourke attempted to table a $53,299 contract for Redrock Fence Inc. of White Oak to install a new fence at Wylie Field in Elizabeth. Ferraro and Evans joined him but Martell, Bakewell, McVicker, Morgan, Posa and Wycoff voted no. By that same 6-3 margin the board then approved the contract.
Patrick Cloonan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1967, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
- Grant will benefit Allegheny County Airport in West Mifflin
- Paving, electronics upgrades evident at Steel Valley
- Mon Valley steelworkers rally for new contract
- McKeesport heroin bust nets 1,700 stamp bags, $3,880 cash
- County shuts down Clairton demolition work
- Volunteers restore stands at former Duquesne football field
- West Mifflin Community Day returns to airport grounds
- Mon-Yough water line upgrades will lead to more reliable service