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Hampton school budget plan calls for small tax rate hike

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By Bethany Hofstetter
Wednesday, May 15, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
 

Hampton Township School District school officials approved the proposed budget for the 2013-14 school year last week with an adjusted tax rate and slight millage increase.

School districts across the county are required to “reset” their tax rate to a revenue neutral millage to avoid a windfall of revenue from the county-wide reassessment, which for Hampton Township means a decrease from 21.35 mills to 17.27 mills.

The school district's $43.9 million budget currently includes a $661,675 deficit, which school board members voted to close by using $418,000 of the Public School Employees' Retirement System (PSERS) stabilization fund and a 0.16 mill increase over the adjusted 17.27 millage.

The proposed tax rate of 17.43 mills would equal a tax bill of $1,743 for a resident with a home assessed at $100,000, and $3,486 for a resident with a home assessed at $200,000.

“More people's taxes will increase or decrease because of the assessment and not our increase,” said Jeff Kline, director of administrative services, of the less than 1 percent tax rate increase.

The school district would have had an overall budget decrease of $34,600 in part due to 19 employees taking advantage of an early retirement incentive and salary freezes in several of the district's collective bargaining agreements.

However, several costs increased, including the PSERS contribution rate, which increased by $960,000, an increase from 12.36 percent of payroll to 16.93 percent, and an anticipated 52 percent decrease in special education ACCESS funds, equal to $260,000, which the district now will have to fund.

School board president David Gurwin said district officials still have time to adjust the budgetary numbers before the board is required to vote on the final budget in June, which might be necessary because there still are 282 residential and commercial assessment appeals pending in Hampton Township that would affect the district's “revenue neutral” millage adjustment.

“The number may change slightly from this month to next month, but it's ball park,” Gurwin said.

Bethany Hofstetter is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6364 or bhofstetter@tribweb.com.

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