Highlands to seek exceptions to increase property taxes by more than state limit | TribLIVE.com
Valley News Dispatch

Highlands to seek exceptions to increase property taxes by more than state limit

Brian C. Rittmeyer

Property owners in the Highlands School District could be facing another increase in their school taxes.

The school board on Monday approved advertising a preliminary budget, a step toward increasing the property tax beyond the district’s state-imposed limit.

The board did not discuss specifics of the budget at the voting meeting Monday.

The property tax was increased up to the limit last year for the $40.31 million 2018-19 budget. The tax rate was increased by 3.5 percent, from 23.8 mills to 24.63 mills.

Under the state’s Act 1, Highlands is able to increase property taxes by up to 3.3 percent for the 2019-20 school year without voter approval or, as is more commonly done, by getting exceptions to avoid a referendum.

Business Manager Lori Byron said Highlands will cite pension and special education costs as reasons for increasing the property tax rate by more than its limit.

She could not say how much that might be because the budget is not yet finalized. It will be available for public review in 10 days, she said.

Under Act 1, since Highlands did not adopt a resolution stating it will not increase taxes by more than its index, it must have a proposed version of a preliminary budget available for public inspection by Jan. 31, according to the state Department of Education.

Highlands has until Feb. 20 to adopt a 2019-20 preliminary budget.

In February, the school board will hold its agenda planning meeting on Feb. 11 and its regular meeting on Feb. 18. The board meets at 7 p.m. in the library at Highlands High School.

Highlands will have until March 7 to seek approval from the state for referendum exceptions. The state has until March 27 to issue a ruling on the district’s petition.

Brian Rittmeyer is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Brian at 724-226-4701, [email protected] or via Twitter @BCRittmeyer.

Brian C. Rittmeyer is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Brian at 724-226-4701, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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.