District to cap tax hike at 1.67 mills
The Greater Latrobe School Board this week said it will not raise real estate taxes more than 1.67 mills for the 2013-2014 school year, the highest possible increase as determined under a state Department of Education formula.
The school board Tuesday said it would adopt a resolution at its Jan. 22 meeting to hold any tax increase to 1.67 mills, despite projected increases of $1.96 million in expenditures, according to a preliminary budget that is “conservative,” said Daniel Watson, school district business manager. A 1.67-mill tax hike would generate only $556,000 in revenue.
“We believe we can do it,” Watson said.
The school district is operating with a property tax levy of 76.0 mills for its $48.9 million budget. The board raised taxes by 1.5 mills last June.
While the deadline for adopting that resolution is Jan. 31, under provisions of state Act 1, the district still has several months to evaluate its expenditures, Watson said.
If the board does not adopt the resolution capping the tax hike, it must adopt a preliminary budget by Feb. 20, Watson said. The district might be required to have any tax hike above 1.67 mills approved by the voters.
About $1.1 million of the increase in expenses is tied to retirement costs, of which the state reimburses the district for 50 percent of the total, Watson said.
Watson said he expects that some teachers will retire at the end of the school year, taking advantage of an early-retirement incentive.
For purposes of the budget projection, Watson estimated that health care costs will rise by about 10 percent. Watson said, however, that the insurance increases will be less than 10 percent.
State and federal funding is projected to remain flat for the 2013-2014 school year and local revenues expected to rise by only $44,000, Watson said.
The district has enacted a series of cost-cutting measures that has resulted in annual savings of about $2.25 million.
In other business, construction of the $9.4 million multipurpose athletic complex is proceeding on schedule, with work focusing on site preparation, including tree removal and site grading for the fields and the field house, said Kurt Thomas, the school district's construction manager on the project.
Thomas told the board that activity at the site has increased the past two weeks.
A contractor is expected to meet with West Penn Power Co. to discuss removing trees so that the utility can move an electrical line that now runs through the project, said Hank Tkacik, the district's architect on the project. Moving the utility lines that cut through the work site may cost more than originally anticipated, Tkacik said.
Earthmoving work will begin soon on the site that will hold the two-story field house, Tkacik said.
Joe Napsha is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-5252 or email@example.com.
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.
- Police gather in Ligonier for Perryopolis officer’s funeral
- Penn Township man who shot friend gets probation
- United Way surplus funds benefit 9 nonprofits in Westmoreland County
- Arbitration decides Westmoreland court workers’ pact
- Plenty of ‘pain’ to share, as Westmoreland County budget OK’d with $8M in cuts
- 11 Westmoreland inmates accused of setting fire put in solitary confinement
- Youngwood fire department reaches out to homeless family
- Hempfield leaders kill zoning request for townhomes
- Western Pa. retirees skip relaxing, instead head back to school
- Home of LeNature’s exec up for sale
- Ligonier man first in Pa. to own aluminum-body F-150