Residents who live in the Palmerton Area School District could be in line for a 4.68-percent increase in their property tax rates next year.
Donna Les, interim business manager, updated the school board on the 2012-13 budget as part of a workshop session of the board of directors on Tuesday.
Les said she has prepared a document that calls for a 2.30-mill increase, which would raise the millage rate from 49.14 to 51.44 mills. Such an increase would mean a person with a home valued at $100,000, and assessed at $50,000, would pay $2,572, or $115 more, in property taxes to the district next year.
Les noted the $27,267,701 budget would set aside $179,700 in the district's fund balance for use toward the 2013-14 retirement costs. It would also call for the use of $272,486 from the fund balance to pay for the 2011-12 positions that were restored.
In a related matter, Les discussed a special athletic account transfer in the amount of $44,736. However, she noted that might not be the final number because she said there were still some outstanding bills for wrestling banners.
Resident Tiffani Christman openly questioned the status of the athletic budget.
"I have requested documentation on four occasions," Christman said. "Now, we want to take $44,000, when we have $22,000 in excess, and that's not how it was intended."
Christman noted that the Save Our Sports Committee raised $46,351 to save all the sports, and wanted to know the amount of the athletic budget compared to the actual amount that was spent.
Les said the athletic budget was about $422,000, of which about $400,000 has been spent.
Board President Barry Scherer disputed Christman's claim, and said the money raised by the SOS Committee was to be used to fund four sports only: wrestling, cross country, golf and tennis.
"There was no reason to save all the sports," Scherer said. "The board's original cut was those four sports; and it was agreed those funds would be used expressly for those four sports."
Christman offered a rebuttal to Scherer's comments.
"You had this number you needed for sports, and we raised that money with the understanding it was to be used for sports," she said. "That $22,000 is not being used for what we intended to use it for."
Les also disputed Christman's claim, and said the funds were to be used to fund the four sports only.
The board is scheduled to grant final budget adoption when it meets at 7 p.m. June 19. By law, the final budget must be approved by June 30.
In April, the board approved the advertisement of next year's spending plan, which at the time called for a 1.67-mill increase, which would have raised the millage rate from 49.14 to 50.81 mills.
Such an increase would have meant a person with a home valued at $100,000, and assessed at $50,000, would have paid $2,540, or $83 more, in property taxes to the district next year.
This year, residents saw a 12.6-percent increase in their property tax rates after the board raised the millage rate from 43.64 to 49.14 mills.
That meant a person with a home valued at $100,000, and assessed at $50,000, had to pay $2,457, or $277 more in property taxes to the district.