Board: Too early to tell whether Mt. Pleasant Area taxes will rise
By Karl Polacek
Published: Wednesday, April 17, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Taxpayers in the Mt. Pleasant Area School District will have to wait until June to find out whether they are going to face a tax increase for the coming year.
The district is grappling with a deficit of more than $1 million, according to the March budget report. District revenues were listed as $29,566,032; expenses were $30,701,772.
Superintendent Terry Struble said with reductions in expenses, including the retirement of three teachers — Eugene Dangelo, Frank Farrell and William Frye — and an increase in wage tax collections by $100,000, the deficit would be trimmed to $787,740.
The final status of the district budget will depend on the state and federal funds the district will receive.
Struble said the board voted not to exceed the Act I adjusted index, which sets the amount that the real estate tax can be increased.
Board member Tara Leeder questioned whether the audit report, as released, was the same document she had received.
“I was absent at the last meeting,” Leeder said. “The audit report I received showed some discrepancies. Was this the same report?”
Struble said the report was the same one that was presented.
“What the auditors reported last week was the financial and money being there or not there,” Struble said.
The board approved a court-ordered property tax refund of $45,426 to Winsor Housing LP. John Toohey, board solicitor, said the refund was for multiple years after Winsor challenged the assessment in approximately 2007. The reduction in the assessment will mean a drop in income of about $7,000 per year.
“The township and the county also have to pay refunds,” he said. “And we are a larger payer because we received the bulk of the taxes.
In other items, the board:
• Heard a report from Dr. Richard Davies on three grants received from the Westmoreland County Association of School Retirees. The teachers who received the grants of $250, $280 and $350 reported on the use of funds.
• Approved a memorandum of understanding between the district and the Mt. Pleasant Area Education Association concerning the use of the eAcademy for the 2013-2014 school year.
• Approved the revised 2013-2014 school calendar.
Karl Polacek is a Trib Total Media staff writer and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 724-626-3538.
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