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Murrysville

Franklin Regional board will not raise 2019-20 taxes beyond state-set cap

Patrick Varine
| Monday, Dec. 3, 2018, 9:18 p.m.
Above, the Franklin Regional school board.
Above, the Franklin Regional school board.

Franklin Regional officials are confident that they will not need to raise taxes beyond the state’s Act I index to balance the 2019-20 budget.

School board members on Monday night approved a resolution pledging they will not raise taxes beyond the state-set cap, which for Franklin Regional is 2.3 percent, or 2.2 mills.

With the district preparing to start an ambitious $54 million overhaul of the Sloan Elementary property — renovating the existing elementary building and constructing a new one next door — board members asked finance director Jon Perry if he felt confident the district was in good budgetary shape for the coming year.

“Yes, we’re comfortable working within those limits,” Perry said of the Act I cap. “(Construction debt service) is certainly an item highlighted as one of the projected increases compared to 2018-19, but in conjunction with the funds set aside for debt service phasing, we’re comfortable with that.”

According to the bond schedule school board members discussed in the fall of 2017, they plan to issue a $23.65 million bond next year to finance the Sloan construction project.

Perry said there is nothing unusual so far about projections for next year’s budget.

“Last year we had (a) reserve release payment from the healthcare consortium,” he said. “That’s not something that happens often, so it was pulled when projecting for 2019-20.”

The board of the WCPS Healthcare Consortium approved in April a 2.4 percent decrease in its premium rates for the 2018-19 year, and a budget surplus at the consortium meant a one-time payment of more than $200,000 to the district.

This year’s $58.3 million budget included a 2.24-mill tax hike. A mill currently generates about $353,000.

The board’s final budget vote will not take place until June 2019.

Patrick Varine is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Patrick at 724-850-2862, pvarine@tribweb.com or via Twitter @MurrysvilleStar.

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