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Westmoreland

Tax hike in store for Latrobe school district property owners

Jeff Himler
| Tuesday, June 27, 2017, 9:39 p.m.

Greater Latrobe School Board on Tuesday finalized a $55.4 million 2017-18 district budget that will be funded in part by a 1.75-mill real estate tax hike, adding $46 to the average property owner's tax bill.

Business administrator Dan Watson said the new 80.75-mill rate is the fifth lowest among districts in Westmoreland County.

“That should be realized by our taxpayers,” school director Kathryn Elder said.

The budget and tax structure were approved 6-0 with Rhonda Laughlin, Merle Musick and Michael Zorch absent.

Watson said the board approved the tax increase, in large part, because of uncertainty about the continued level of state and federal subsidies all districts, including Greater Latrobe, can expect to receive in light of funding debates in Harrisburg and Washington, D.C.

If the state were to cut funding for student transportation and federal officials were to roll back Title II dollars, Greater Latrobe could receive about $255,000 less, Watson said.

That compares to $340,000 generated by each mill of district property tax.

In a related motion, the school board indicated that district property owners who qualify for homestead or farmstead exclusion under the state's Taxpayer Relief Act will receive a $91.73 reduction in their real estate tax bill for the 2017-18 school year.

The board also approved settlement of a tax assessment appeal by Phyllis Bertok and Richard Lopretto for a residential property that will result in a $4,062 revenue gain for the district, Watson said.

Jeff Himler is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-836-6622, jhimler@tribweb.com or via Twitter @jhimler_news.

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