Southmoreland property owners tell board don't raise taxes
A handful of citizens addressed the Southmoreland School Board at its meeting Thursday and had one simple message — do not increase taxes.
School directors voted 7-1 May 29 to approve a budget for the 2014-2015 school year that included a slight tax increase.
Board President Michael Bentz cast the lone negative vote and Director Ken Alt was not in attendance at that meeting.
The preliminary spending plan listed expenditures at $27,255,737, revenues at $26,427,718 and includes a fund balance of $423,519.
That spending plan called for the millage for Westmoreland County residents of the district to increase from 71.0597 mills to 72.494. That would result in an annual increase of $18.91 for those whose property is assessed at the median property value.
The rate in Fayette County would increase from 14 to 14.3876 mills. The annual increase for the properties assessed at the median property value would be $18.85.
At the time, Business Manager Jim Marnell said each of those increases was equivalent to about a nickel a day.
However, those who spoke last night to not want to see taxes raised one penny.
“No one can afford it,” said resident and former Scottdale Councilwoman Alesia Chiaramonte. “Everyone is tightening their belts and the school should also have to tighten its belt. If you have to get rid of some things, that's what you're going to have to do. No (residents) in the community or in the school district wants a tax hike.”
Resident Fred Collins wanted to remind the board of its role as the “boss” of the school district
“You were elected to do a job,” Collins said. “About these taxes, you heard nobody can afford them. If you can't do the job you were elected for, step down, let's get somebody in here who can help. (Administrators) have to answer to you.”
Marnell said May 29 that the main features leading to the increase are contracted wage increases and benefits adjusted for Public School Employees Retirement System and health insurance increases. He said salaries and benefits make up about 65 percent of the budget.
Superintendent John Molnar said the picture of the budget “has not changed” since May 29.
Marnell did say property owners approved for homestead and farmstead exemptions will receive a maximum real estate tax reduction of $209.12, which is up slightly from last year's $205.96.
School directors are scheduled to vote on a final budget June 30.
Paul Paterra is a staff editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-887-6101 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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
- Arbitration decides Westmoreland court workers’ pact
- Plenty of ‘pain’ to share, as Westmoreland County budget OK’d with $8M in cuts
- Youngwood fire department reaches out to homeless family
- 11 Westmoreland inmates accused of setting fire put in solitary confinement
- Catholic Diocese of Greensburg bestows $30K to combat poverty
- Demolition project at Oliver’s Pourhouse in Greensburg moves ahead
- Unity name excised from Latrobe parks, recreation
- Hempfield leaders kill zoning request for townhomes
- Mt. Pleasant man charged with unlawful restraint
- Home of LeNature’s exec up for sale