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Kiskia Area homeowners can expect higher taxes in 2010-11

Brian C. Rittmeyer
| Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Property taxes would increase by about 3.8 percent in Westmoreland County and by about 7.6 percent in Armstrong County under the Kiski Area School District's preliminary $50.8 million budget for the 2010-11 school year.

The spending plan as presented at a special school board meeting Monday night has revenue of $48.8 million, leaving a deficit of about $2.1 million.

A tax increase of 8.56 mills would be needed to cover the entire deficit, according to Business Manager Peggy Gillespie.

However, the school board agreed in December to live within a state-mandated 4 percent cost of living index, which caps the tax increase the board can approve at 3.17 mills.

With 1 mill valued at $244,500, the proposed 3-mill tax increase will raise $733,500.

The proposed budget would be balanced with $1.4 million from the district's $3.5 million fund balance, Gillespie said.

Based on average assessed values, the proposed tax increase would cost a Westmoreland County homeowner an additional $49, and the owner of an Armstrong County home an additional $68.

Superintendent John Meighan said the district is facing a challenging year as administrators work to balance the district's needs with its resources.

He noted a sharp decline in revenue in the district.

The district is projecting a revenue increase of just under $375,000 for the 2010-11 budget year, compared with a $1.2 million increase for 2009-10 and $1.6 million in 2008-09.

Gillespie detailed 13 cuts in spending totaling $1.4 million she described as "severe" cuts. They ranged from eliminating a $400,000 contribution to the district's retirement reserve to $4,900 for musical instruments.

The board is expected to consider passing the preliminary budget May 17, and a final adoption on June 28. Both meetings begin at 7:30 p.m. in the administration center on Hyde Park Road in Allegheny Township.

In other business:

The board voted 6-0 to promote two employees as part of a reconfiguration of district administration. Board members Elizabeth Kovach, Ron Ferrara and Gary Haag were absent.

Patricia Thomas, currently assistant to the superintendent for administrative services, was named assistant to the superintendent for elementary education at a salary of $102,000 effective July 1.

Scott Koter, currently principal of the district's intermediate school, was named assistant to the superintendent for secondary education at a salary of just under $106,500 effective immediately.

The moves follow the resignation of Patrick Hefflin, the former assistant to the superintendent for curriculum and instruction, who left to become superintendent of Greenville Area School District in Mercer County.

The board approved advertising for a new intermediate school principal. Koter will continue in that capacity until a replacement is hired.

Additional Information:

Westmoreland changes

Here's how taxes would change on a Westmoreland County house with an assessed value of $16,492:

Old tax rate: 79.29 mills

New tax rate: 82.29 mills

Old tax bill: $1,308

New tax bill: $1,357

Tax increase: $49

Additional Information:

Armstrong changes

Here's how taxes would change on an Armstrong County house with an assessed value of $22,760:

Old tax rate: 39.68 mills

New tax rate: 42.68 mills

Old tax bill: $903

New tax bill: $971

Tax increase: $68

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