The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Midd-West Region

January 30, 2013

Projected Midd-West budget includes 6 percent property tax hike

HARRISBURG — MIDDLEBURG — The Midd-West school board has approved a $33.4 million preliminary budget for 2013-14 that calls for property tax rates to increase by 4.1 mills to 70.6 mills, a 6.17 percent increase.

The current millage is 66.5. The board took the action Monday.

The average assessed value of property for homeowners in the Midd-West School District is just under $25,000, Business Manager Lynn Y. Naugle said, “so the increase would be $102.50 for the year or an additional $8.55 per month.”

The proposed budget is about $2 million more than this year’s budget. School officials, however, hope to find ways to reduce the increase.

“Over 60 percent of this increase is due to cyber-school tuition, health insurance and retirement contributions,” Naugle said.

“State subsidy revenue for basic and special education are level funded, that is, no additional funds over the current year,” she added. “This may change with the governor’s budget, and adjustments will be made based on the state budget plan for the final budget, but we are playing it safe and conservative at this preliminary stage.”

Besides the tax increase, the district proposes to use some fund balance reserves to balance the coming budget.

Naugle said: “There will also be budget reduction recommendations from the administration and board as we work from this starting point of the preliminary budget until our final budget approval in June. Please keep in mind that approval of the preliminary budget does not commit or approve final tax rates for the next fiscal year.”

A preliminary budget and the final budget are often far apart, added Wesley Knapp, district superintendent.

“The preliminary budget is not the budget that will be adopted, we hope, by the board after they and our administrators have worked on it for a couple of months and we have a better read on staffing, enrollment, state and federal funding,” Knapp said.

State budget figures should be released in March, giving the district more solid numbers to work with as it moves closer to a final 2013-14 spending plan.

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