Chartiers Valley residents facing possible tax hike
Residents in the Chartiers Valley School District likely will be paying more in real estate taxes in 2019-20.
School board members will vote on the district’s final budget on June 25.
However, the proposed final budget approved by the board on May 28 — with roughly $66 million in revenue and $67.1 million in expenditures — included a proposed property tax rate increase of 0.4885 mills. That would take the millage rate from 17.0710 in 2018-19 to 17.5595 in 2019-20.
“The increase is necessary to provide for all student programs and initiatives that are not funded by state funding,” Emily Eckman, the district’s director of finance and operations, said in an email.
The proposed real estate tax increase will cost the median residential property owner, with a property value of $132,400, an additional $64.68 a year.
One mill in Chartiers Valley brings in roughly $2.2 million. The district raised real estate taxes for 2018-19. Prior to that, the last increase was in 2016, Eckman said.
The proposed budget includes a $1,073,373 deficit. District leaders anticipate that deficit being reduced as they receive more information, Eckman said. That includes receiving confirmed insurance rates, updated revenue projections and updated student counts for 2019-20.
District leaders will determine at the June 25 meeting whether money needs to be taken from the district’s fund balance to balance the budget, she wrote. The district had a general fund balance of about $1.5 million as of June 30, 2018.
In putting together the 2019-20 budget, Chartiers Valley used a “zero based budgeting” process.
“This process of budgeting, unlike traditional budgeting, focuses on the needs of each department and not on historical increases,” Eckman said.
The proposed budget did not call for cuts to programs or staff, she said.
To allow the district to raise real estate taxes above its state-issued index of 2.3% for 2019-20, the district applied for and received exceptions from the state Department of Education for pension and special education costs.
The highest the district could raise real estate taxes to under the index is 17.4636 mills for 2019-20. The exceptions allowed for an added 0.0959 mill increase, taking the proposed final property tax rate to 17.5595 mills. The exceptions will bring in an additional $225,183 in revenues.
The proposed 2019-20 budget is roughly $1.8 million greater than the district’s 2018-19 budget.
Of that, $1.2 million in increases is due to salaries and benefits, Eckman said. The district also will see an increase in pension and health care rates.
The proposed final budget includes a total debt payment of $4.9 million. This is an increase of roughly $500,000 from the 2018-19 budget, Eckman said, as $500,000 was budgeted to be paid directly from the district’s capital reserve fund.
District leaders on June 25 will determine if any of the debt service payment for 2019-20 will be paid using capital reserve funds, Eckman said.