The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

The Danville News

January 15, 2014

School district to stay within state tax range in 2014

DANVILLE — School board members have voted to stay within the state’s 2.5 percent maximum real estate tax increase for the coming budget year.

The board members, who voted at their meeting Tuesday, will vote on the exact increase in June, according to district business manager Janis Venna. “It could be a zero increase or it could be 2.5 percent,” she said.

Should the board vote to increase real estate tax by the maximum 2.5 percent, that would raise taxes by $31.74 for a property within the median assessed value for Montour County, Venna said. The cost would be similar for Riverside residents.

The preliminary budget for next school year is currently $34.733 million. Expenditures are currently only $6 more than revenues, Venna said. She couldn’t quite get the final tally down to zero, she said.

The board voted not to stay within the 2.5 percent index last year in order to give the district more flexibility in reducing a deficit of approximately $207,790. Real estate taxes last year ended up being raised by $43.70 on properties with a median assessed value of $104,400.

The district has made progress over the past several years to become more efficient and keep costs down, said board vice president David Weader. That’s why they did not feel the need to go beyond the real estate cap this year.

The vote on the budget nearly didn’t happen Tuesday night. A minimum of six votes were needed to pass the real estate tax vote, and several members were not able to attend due to sickness or other commitments. It wasn’t until shortly before the meeting that Weader learned they would have the minimum of six board members required. Attending were Weader, Dawn Koons-Gill, Barbara Bickhart, Gregg Campbell, Randy Keister and Jamie Hosterman. All voted in favor of staying within the 2.5 percent limit.

Board president Allan Schappert was sick the day of the meeting, Weader said. Also unavailable were members Joseph Stemm and Christopher Outt.

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