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Connellsville Area approves 3-mill tax increase

| Friday, June 28, 2002

Property owners in the Connellsville Area School District will pay an additional 3 mills in taxes to finance a $51-million budget for the 2002-03 fiscal year.

School directors voted 5-4 to adopt the spending plan Thursday, with Ann Watson, Chuck Wilson, David Goldblum, Chip Nicholson and Kevin Lape voting in favor, and Karen Blocker, Loretta Lint, Francis Mongell and Jeff Hardy voting against it.

With the increase, the average taxpayer in the district, whose assessment is $9,745, will pay an extra $29.25 a year.

The increase will bring the total number of mills to 49.55, with 48.15 mills going to the general fund and 1.4 mills earmarked for the capital reserve fund.

With the 49.55 mills, a resident of the school district will pay $4.95 per $100 of assessed valuation.

According to William Harper, district business manager, two-thirds of the school district's revenue comes from the state, and a tax increase was needed because of the state's budget constraints.

"From what we're hearing out of Harrisburg, they're having troubles this year, and they're using their rainy day fund," Harper said. "So what will they do over the next three years when they're having trouble• They won't have that to work with then.

"When the state has problems, we have problems," he said.

Watson said she voted in favor of the tax increase because "it was needed to balance the budget."

We have to balance the budget one way or another with a combination of state and local funds — this is the local effort," she said.

Mongell felt otherwise. "I'm not raising taxes if they're going to spend the money foolishly," he said.

The beginning fund balance was $4,741,683. It was reduced to $3,724,898 to make up for the negative balance of $1,016,785 from the revenues and expenditures.

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