The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


June 20, 2007

Shikellamy school board adopts $34.6M budget

SUNBURY -- Property taxes in the Shikellamy School District will increase an average of $42 next year.

By a 6-3 vote, school board members Tuesday night adopted the final draft of the 2007-08 budget, which includes a tax increase of 3.5 mills, for a total of 62.5 mills. The budget totals $34.62 million.

One mill comes to about $12 for the average taxpayer, according to district business manager David Sinopoli.

The budget included a 2.77-mill increase based on Act 1, which allows the district to tax up to the rate of inflation. The district also chose to use $1.1 million in referendum exceptions, which the state had previously approved, to trim the deficit.

At a previous meeting, Mr. Sinopoli said under Act 1, the district will likely have to increase taxes slightly every year to avoid a larger increase in the future.

He said he would recommend the board raise taxes to the rate of inflation every year; otherwise, it will constantly be playing catch up because it is allowed to go up only to the rate of inflation each year.

Board member Charlie Dalpiaz said he supported the budget, but voted not to approve it because he didn't like the idea of raising taxes every year.

"I am in favor of your budget," he told Mr. Sinopoli. "I appreciate that you worked so hard on it. ... I just have a problem with the state dictating to us that we're going to have a perpetual tax increase."

Board members Slade Shreck and Terry Marshall also voted not to approve the budget. The three board members also voted against a resolution to raise taxes, as did member Jeff Persing.

When the board approved a preliminary draft of the budget last month, it included a four-mill increase. But according to Mr. Sinopoli, administrators discovered an extra $150,000 in property tax revenue last week from reassessments, as well as properties that had been added to the tax rolls, and were able to reduce the increase by half a mill.

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