The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

News

May 25, 2010

Local school tax assessments exceed state averages

MILTON — Many of the Valley’s school boards are planning to increase taxes higher than the statewide average for the 2010-11 school year.

That’s especially true in the Milton Area School District, where some taxpayers are poised to get hit with a 19 percent property tax increase.

The school board is proposing the increase for property owners in the Union County portion of the district, while decreasing taxes by 1.9 percent for Northumberland County residents.

Acting Superintendant Brian Snyder said he understands the frustration.

“The State Tax and Equalization Board sets the sales value, assessment and they do the calculations and equalize the mills in each county,” Snyder said.

The school board is free to set its own taxes, but the equalization board directs the school districts to levy taxes so that property owners pay comparable amounts when districts cross county lines.

Snyder also blames the increase on a shift in property values between counties.

“The shift has happened in market value, and that is what it is based on,” Snyder said. “We understand the frustrations people have, but it is all based on the market value.”

Snyder said that 89 of the 500 school districts in Pennsylvania are experiencing similar problems, and he wasn’t surprised to see about 100 concerned taxpayers at the most recent school board meeting.

“We are not the only ones going through this,” Snyder said.

“I knew it was a concern, and with all the people that showed up we really do understand their anger, and we will still be having meetings to discuss the increase.”

While Milton has the most eye-popping tax increase, a number of other districts are also exceeding the state Department of Education’s index rate that is supposed to keep districts from increasing taxes higher than the rate of inflation.

According to Leah Harris, deputy press secretary for the Pennsylvania Department of Education, the Act 1 index regulates the rates at which each school district can raise property taxes. Districts are not allowed to raise taxes above that index unless they allow voters to vote by referendum, or they seek an exception from the state Department of Education. The base index for the 2010-2011 school year is 2.9 percent, but it can be adjusted higher, depending on a number of factors, such as property values and the personal income of district residents.

A variety of exceptions are available to districts, including increasing health care costs or dwindling tax bases.

In Lewisburg, taxes are scheduled to increase 9.9 percent. In dollar amounts, that is $889,937, with $310,963 due to exceptions of special education expenditures and pension obligations.

In the Shikellamy School District, the increase is expected be 9.5 percent, or $1.15 million, with $643,012 also due to exceptions involving special education expenditures and pension obligations.

Line Mountain School District taxpayers will possibly see a 5.5 percent increase, or $407,903, of which $240,390 is due to exceptions involving school construction, maintenance of local tax revenue, health-care related benefits and pension obligations.

Midd-West was able to raise taxes nearly $750,000 more than the index originally allowed because of exceptions granted them for the need for increased revenue, pensions, and a special education expenditure.

Mifflinburg is scheduling a 6 percent increase, Selinsgrove a 3.8 percent increase and Danville a 3.5 percent.

The Pennsylvania Department of Education reports that the statewide average increase is 2.9 percent, down from 4.1 percent in the 2009-10 school year and 4.4 percent in 2008-09. Of the 165 school districts in the state that filed preliminary budgets, 135 of them exceeded the index. Of the 135, 133 were granted exceptions. In all, 128 of the 133 school districts applied for exceptions because of pension obligations, compared to six last year.

1
Text Only
News
  • Prize claim cost man $1,829

    WINFIELD — Western Union is doing what it can to educate people about the risks in wiring money. An entire section on its website (www.westernunion.com) is devoted to providing information that might reduce the risk of people falling victim to fraud schemes.
     

    April 19, 2014

  • Reel good time enjoyed by 200 young anglers

    TREVORTON — It only took about three minutes for J.C. Wallish to reel in his first fish at the Little Shamokin Creek Watershed Association’s annual Youth Trout Derby on Saturday.
     

    April 19, 2014

  • Elytte Barbour's 'bad trip' put him on the road to prison, friend says

    SUNBURY — A former roommate of slaying suspect Elytte Barbour drove 450 miles from North Carolina to spend 45 minutes in the Northumberland County Prison with his best friend last week, and was not surprised when he heard Barbour say: “I am afraid to spend the rest of my life in jail.”

    April 19, 2014

  • bonehunt20a.jpg 60 dogs battle for biscuits at annual bone hunt

    It was a scene similar to ones playing out all over the nation this weekend: nervous parents holding baskets and bags, watching their little ones search for goodies in the grass.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Arizona tribe set to prosecute first non-Indian under a new law

    PASCUA YAQUI INDIAN RESERVATION, Ariz. — Tribal police chief Michael Valenzuela drove through darkened desert streets, turned into a Circle K convenience store and pointed to the spot beyond the reservation line where his officers used to take the non-Indian men who battered Indian women.
     

    April 19, 2014

  • Danville parents hope strike ends quickly

    DANVILLE ““ First-grader Madison Wild was sad she missed school Thursday.

    April 19, 2014

  • Schools ask state to waive 180-day rule

    Three area school districts have asked the Pennsylvania Department of Education to add up their hours instead of their days in order to reach the required amount of instruction time in the school year.

    April 19, 2014

  • Former Bucknell star in NBA playoffs

    ATLANTA — It really hit Mike Muscala a few days ago when he was listening to the Nets’ starting lineup at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

    April 19, 2014

  • State: Discard raw milk from Greenfield Dairy

    MIDDLEBURG — Consumers should discard raw milk purchased recently from the Greenfield Dairy of Middleburg, which also has temporarily suspended production after Listeria monocytogenes was discovered in the product following routine testing, the state Department of Agriculture announced today.

    April 18, 2014

  • Penn State police: Three posed nude at Nittany shrine

    STATE COLLEGE — Penn State police say three male students who reportedly posed nude for a photo at the university’s Nittany Lion Shrine face school discipline.

    April 18, 2014

The Daily Marquee
Poll

How do you eat your chocolate Easter bunny?

Feet first
Tail first
Ears first
     View Results
Photo Galleries
The Valley

Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.