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Pine-Richland board proposes tax hike

| Wednesday, May 22, 2013, 6:33 p.m.

Pine and Richland residents face a 3-percent property-tax increase in Pine-Richland School District's proposed 2013-14 budget.

School directors voted 7-1 on May 6 to advertise the tentative money plan before they cast a final vote June 10.

Stephen Hawbaker, former president of the school board, cast the lone “no” vote.

“The tax increase is pretty high for me,” Hawbaker said.

School directors Marc Casciani and Dr. Jeff Banyas also expressed misgivings over the tentative tax hike before they voted “yes” to advertise the proposed budget.

“It's not a budget that I can support with a 3-percent tax increase,” Casciani said.

Also voting “yes” to advertise the budget were school directors Laura Ohlund, Virginia Goebel, Dennis Sundo, Peter Lyons and Katie Shogan. School director Therese Dawson was absent.

The proposed budget anticipates $69.6 million in expenditures, and $69.3 million in revenue, plus the use of $275,501 from the district's fund balance for capital improvements, such as playground improvements at Richland Elementary School.

“Personnel costs for administration, faculty and support staff represent 63.5 percent of total annual budgeted expenditures,” said Dana Siford, finance director for Pine-Richland School District.

The proposed budget includes an estimated tax rate of 18.95 mills, which reflects a 3.1 increase over the tax rate of 18.38 mills that would be needed to generate the same revenue that Pine-Richland School District is receiving this year.

This year's millage is 22.82, but school officials must reduce it for the coming school year to prevent the district from receiving a windfall related to recent property reassessments in Allegheny County.

“This revenue represents an increase of 3.1 percent — or .5698 mills — over the revenue-neutral calculation (18.3794 mills),” Siford said.

“At this time, we have over 200 (Allegheny County) property (assessment) appeals in process,” Siford said. “So there are still estimated figures for the overall assessed value of the community.”

No one urged school directors to amend the proposed budget during the public-comment portion of the school board's May 6 meeting.

The proposed budget includes no proposed teacher layoffs or program cuts.

If approved, the proposed budget would result in a $5,344 property-tax bill from the Pine-Richland School District for the owner of a $282,000 home in Pine — the latest median assessed value of a home in the township.

The owner of a $152,300 home in Richland — the latest median assessed value of a home there — would get a property-tax bill for $2,886 from the school district if school directors adopt the proposed 2013-14 budget.

The proposed budget is available for inspection in the school district's administrative offices at 702 Warrendale Road, Pine. People also may view the proposed budget at the school district's online site: www.pinerichland.org.

Deborah Deasy is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6369 or ddeasy@tribweb.com.

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