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Latrobe district residents could pay a bit more with increase in taxes

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Thursday, May 30, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
 

Property owners in the Greater Latrobe School District could see a 1-mill property tax increase next year.

The school board passed a preliminary budget this week that includes the possible increase, which would mean an average increase of about $25 for property owners, business manager Dan Watson said.

One mill generates about $335,000 in revenue.

Superintendent Judith Swigart said she and other administrators are satisfied with the budget as it stands and with the work they put into keeping the increase low.

The only major alterations to the final version of the budget would come from any changes in state funding, she said.

The 1-mill increase could be cut if there is any increase in state funding, but that seems unlikely, Swigart said.

Director Kathryn Elder, chairwoman of the finance committee, said the state's Act 1, known as the Taxpayer Relief Act, requires a tax increase once a threshold is reached to prevent a big jump for taxpayers in subsequent years.

“We decided it was safer all the way around to raise taxes 1 mill, given the restrictions Act 1 puts on us,” she said.

Elder emphasized the impact of the Public School Employees' Retirement System, or PSERS, on the budget, which otherwise has been slashed.

The district projects a budget of $49.6 million.

Without the PSERS requirements, the budget decreased by 0.76 percent from $46.3 million in 2012-13, but once the retirement benefits are included, the budget will reflect a $664,489 increase.

“There's been a lot of work put into it,” Elder said.

Board member Bill Palmer praised the finance committee members during Tuesday's meeting.

“I think everybody worked very, very hard to get it where it is this year,” he said.

Stacey Federoff is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-6660 or sfederoff@tribweb.com.

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