Greater Latrobe faces 2.7-mill tax-hike cap for 2020-21 |

Greater Latrobe faces 2.7-mill tax-hike cap for 2020-21

Jeff Himler
Greater Latrobe School District

Greater Latrobe School Board in December is expected to decide whether it intends to keep any potential tax increase for the 2020-21 school year within a 2.71-mill cap set by the state.

District Business Administrator Dan Watson told the board Tuesday that Greater Latrobe will be limited to a 3.3% increase over its current real estate tax rate of 82.25 mills, under the provisions of Pennsylvania’s Act 1, the Taxpayer Relief Act.

If the district were to increase taxes by the full 2.71 mills, it could expect to raise an additional $934,950 in revenue, Watson said.

The board raised the tax rate by 1 mill last year to help support the current $57 million district budget, well within the 2.36-mill cap set a year ago.

The last time Greater Latrobe exceeded the state cap was in 2010-11 — when the board approved a 4.5-mill hike, compared to a 2.48-mill cap. To raise taxes beyond the cap, the local district must receive state approval of one or more exceptions to Act 1 or obtain local voter approval.

The district by Jan. 9 must either pass a resolution stating that it won’t exceed the new 2.71-mill cap or make a preliminary 2020-21 district budget available for public review.

May 31 is the deadline for the district to approve a proposed 2020-21 budget. Adoption of a final budget for that school year must take place by June 30.

Watson said it’s too early to say what level of tax increase, if any, the district might contemplate for next school year.

But, he said, district officials should be able to get a better fix on expected cost increases as the time nears for a decision on the 2020-21 budget and taxes. He noted that “60 to 70 percent of our expenditures are staff-related” and “we know what our staff structure tentatively looks like.”

Watson said Greater Latrobe has been “pretty successful over the past several years” in managing its finances.

”We’ve received some additional revenue streams and we’ve seen some increases in some existing revenue streams that maybe some other districts didn’t experience,” he said, “and we have been able to control our staffing, just because our overall enrollment has somewhat declined over those years.

Also, he said, “We’ve been able to allocate and set aside funds for capital projects that we knew were coming.”

Greater Latrobe is among local districts that received state safety grants to support employment of a school resource officer. Latrobe was awarded a $30,000 grant in the 2017-18 school year.

Jeff Himler is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jeff at 724-836-6622, [email protected] or via Twitter .

Categories: Local | Westmoreland
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using 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.