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Palmerton district to revisit next budget

Published February 07. 2011 05:00PM

Palmerton Area School District is set to revisit next year's spending plan.

The school board's Budget and Finance Committee was scheduled to meet this afternoon to further discussion on the 2011-12 budget.

Last month, the board agreed to advertise the preliminary budget, which calls for an 8.15 percent, or 3.56-mill, increase in their property tax rates next year.

If approved, the millage rate would increase from 43.64 to 47.20 mills. That means a person with a home valued at $100,000, which would be assessed at $50,000, would pay $2,360, or about $180 more in property taxes to the district next year.

The board's decision came on the heels of a budget workshop agenda with budget process basics presented by recently appointed part-time Interim Acting Business Administrator Donna Les prior to its regular meeting.

Les told the board at that time that of the $1.7 million the district had in its fund balance, only $730,000 remains after the other $923,000 was used to balance the current year's budget.

However, Les cautioned that the preliminary budget is only a rough draft, and therefore can be modified.

Les encouraged the board to revisit the budget between now and final adoption in June.

As required by Act 1 of 2006, the board intends to seek approval from the Pennsylvania Department of Education, or the Carbon County Court, for all referendum exceptions for which the district qualifies.

On written request by any school district resident or taxpayer, the district will provide a copy of the referendum exception application.

The board plans to adopt the preliminary budget when it meets at 7 p.m. Feb. 15.

In December, the committee met with each of the district's department heads as part of a pair of meetings in its attempt to craft next year's spending plan.

This year, homeowners saw a 3.9 percent, or 1.64-mill increase, in their property tax rates after the board in June approved the 2010-11 budget on a 5-4 vote that raised the millage rate from 42 to 43.64 mills.

That meant a person with a home valued at $100,000, which was assessed at $50,000, paid $2,182 in property taxes to the district, $82 more than the $2,100 rate they paid in 2009-10 when the board passed a budget with a 2.44 percent, or 1 mill, increase that resulted in a $50 increase for residents with the same home value.

Before that, the last time the district raised property taxes was in the 2007-08 school year, when it passed a budget with a 2.5 percent increase.

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