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Greater Latrobe School District eyes 1-mill property tax increase

Thursday, May 15, 2014, 12:01 a.m.
 

Unless state funding determines otherwise, Greater Latrobe School District residents could pay about $26 more in property taxes next year.

In a presentation to the school board this week, business administrator Dan Watson said he and the finance committee recommended the approval of a proposed budget for 2014-15 of slightly more than $51 million with a 1 mill tax increase.

One mill would provide about $335,000 for the district. The average assessed value of a home in the district is $25,861, Watson said.

“I'm pleased with that. I think that we're in a good spot,” he said after the meeting. “We'll continue to review expenditures and revenues within the next month” before a final budget is required by the state.

As in past years, Watson stressed the impact of the district's contributions to the Pennsylvania School Employees' Retirement System.

The budget expenditures will increase about $1.5 million from this year, with the contribution to the state retirement plan accounting for about $1.08 million, an increase of about 30 percent, he said.

During the past five years, retirement plan contributions have risen from a 4.69 percent employer rate in 2005-06 to 21.4 percent in 2014-15.

Technology, special education and transportation are among the departments that were closely examined to cut or keep level in the budget, Watson said.

Greater Latrobe is permitted a 2.7 percent increase — 2.08 mills — under the index set by the state's Act 1 budget restrictions, he said.

A slight increase in revenue from real estate and earned income tax will boost Greater Latrobe's local revenue by $364,144, he said.

“We are fortunate here; not all districts can state that their real estate taxes continue to grow every year,” Watson said. “It is continuing to grow, which means we are having development in our community, which is a definite positive.”

Superintendent Judith Swigart said the district will continue to be optimistic about funding contributions from the state as the June 30 budget deadline nears.

“To come in at the 1 mill at this point speaks to the due diligence that everyone has done,” she said.

Stacey Federoff is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.

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