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Belle Vernon Area board looks to avoid tax hike again next year

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Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2013, 12:11 a.m.
 

The current school budget cut millage for some Belle Vernon Area taxpayers and held the line for others.

And while the board and administration are not yet ready to make that same vow for the 2014-15 school year, the directors Monday night took the first step in that direction.

Meeting in regular session, the board approved a resolution agreeing to not raise millage beyond the state-regulated index. For Belle Vernon Area, that index is 2.9 mills, said business manager Eileen Navish. One mill raises roughly $170,000, Navish said.

In June, the board unanimously passed a $34,488,863 general fund budget for the current school year.

It set real estate tax rates at 76.36 mills for properties in Westmoreland County (Rostraver Township and North Belle Vernon) and 18.25 mills for properties in Fayette County (Belle Vernon, Fayette City and Washington Township).

In order to equalize taxes under state law, millage was lowered for Westmoreland properties. The 2012-13 rate is 77.21 mills.

Act 1 each year limits the percentage by which school districts can raise local real estate taxes. If districts exceed this limit, they must ask voters for approval.

“We're not going to referendum,” vowed Superintendent Dr. John Wilkinson following the board meeting.

Wilkinson said the administration has already begun to prepare for budget workshops, which the directors will undertake in January.

With the school year roughly half over, Wilkinson said the current budget looks good.

“We're right on target,” Wilkinson said. “Nothing has come up that we haven't planned for.”

Chris Buckley is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2642 or cbuckley@tribweb.com.

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