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Derry Area board won't raise taxes

| Friday, June 27, 2014, 12:01 a.m.

Property owners in the Derry Area School District have been spared a tax increase.

After approving a tentative 2014-15 budget calling for a 1-mill increase, the school board on Thursday adopted a final spending plan that holds the levy on real estate at 75.5 mills, as it was for the 2013-14 fiscal year.

District administrative assistant for business affairs Joe Koluder said estimates on the tentative budget for health insurance and workers compensation costs were conservative, with the actual figures coming in at a combined $138,840 less than projected.

The final budget shows $33,239,895 in revenues and fund balance, with equal expenditures.

Each mill generates $130,775 for the district, up from $130,190 per mill last year. Under the proposed 1-mill increase, the average district property owner would have paid $11.88 more in real estate taxes annually.

Board President David Krinock credited Koluder and the principals from all the buildings with doing a lot of work in cutting back budgetary items.

“What we're really happy about is we got it to zero mills and no cuts in any courses, no furloughs, Krinock said. “We're really happy about that. I will say that this board is very cognizant of the financial situations of our school district. Students are (No.) 1, taxpayers are 1A. That's the way this board thinks.”

The district saw a savings of $28,905 from projected diesel fuel expenditures on the tentative budget and a reduction of $16,000 from projected tuition costs for vocational education programs.

The board awarded contracts for 87 octane gasoline and diesel fuel to the lowest bidder through Westmoreland Intermediate Unit Joint Purchasing Consortium. The district will pay $2.9893 per gallon for gasoline (up from $2.7588 last year) from Petroleum Traders and $3.0217 per gallon for diesel (up from $2.9937 last year) from Ports Petroleum.

School directors approved the transfer of $700,000 from the general fund to the capital projects fund, and approved the Homestead and Farmstead exclusion resolution, allowing a maximum real estate tax reduction of $189.23 to the 5,123 district properties that qualify as either a homestead or farmstead.

Greg Reinbold is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-459-6100, ext. 2913 or greinbold@tribweb.com.

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