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Deer Lakes raises property tax 4.7 percent

| Thursday, May 22, 2003

Deer Lakes School Board approved a preliminary budget Wednesday which includes a 4.7 percent property tax increase for the 2003-2004 school year.

Retirement costs more than tripled and health care costs increased, forcing the board members to raise taxes, according to Superintendent Mark King.

One mill of taxes brings in $540,000 in property tax revenue.

The tax increase could have been worse. It was held to 4.7 percent because 77 new homes were built, and placed on the tax rolls.

King said that property taxes provide 63 percent of the district's revenue, state taxes provide 36 percent and federal taxes supply 1 percent.

The total budget for the 2003-2004 school year is $23 million.

The board went on to approve an installment payment plan for real estate taxes. Three installments beginning in August would be billed by the tax collector.

No discount is available on this plan.

In other business:

The board appointed Gary Torick as board treasurer for a one-year term beginning July 1.

The board awarded a $10,800 contract for the purchase and installation of a card access system at the middle school to Allegheny Safe and Lock.

"This is the same system as the high school," King said. "Now teachers and coaches will have access to the school without bothering the janitorial staff."

The board accepted the resignation of Assistant Superintendent Alice Hirsch effective June 30. Hirsh is moving on to the North Allegheny School District.

Harrison developer Brian Clark introduced Ramsey Meiser as the manager of the Mills Corporation's mega-mall project in Frazer. Meiser said that he expects to commute weekly from the Washington, D.C. area . He said that the Mills site would be graded by winter.

Board meetings for the month of June are changed from June 11 and June 16 to June 25 and June 30. The new meeting dates are necessary to allow the required 30 days between the adoption of the preliminary budget and its final approval. Additional Information:

About the tax hike

A typical assessed value on house in Deer Lakes School District is $100,000, according to school board officials. Here's what the 2003-2004 tax bill would look like for such a property:

Old tax rate: 21 mills.

New tax rate: 22 mills.

Old tax bill: $2,100.

New tax bill: $2,200.

Tax increase: $100.

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