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Palmerton board tunes budget

Published March 14. 2012 05:01PM

Palmerton Area School District remains on track for a 4.68-percent increase in next year's budget.

At a workshop meeting of the board of school directors on Tuesday, Donna Les, interim business manager, said the 2012-13 budget still calls for a 2.31-mill increase.

Les told the board the adjusted $27,179,699 budget currently carries an $80,562 excess, which she said may be able to be used to reduce that potential increase.

If the board were to approve a budget with a 2.31-mill increase, that would raise the millage rate from 49.14 to 51.45 mills. That would mean a person with a home valued at $100,000 and assessed at $50,000 would pay $2,573, or $116 more in property taxes to the district next year.

Also as part of her budget update, Les told the board the district will need to spend $736,000 for CLIU 21 transportation in the 2012-13 school year.

As a result, Les recommended that the district use its fund balance to pay for a $165,720, one-time expense.

"You do have money because we had budgeted an unknown amount for CCTI (Carbon Career Technical Institute) expenses," Les said. "If we get hit with this, it's a one-time expense."

Les previously said the adjusted budget would require the use of $272,486 from the fund balance to pay for the 2011-12 positions that were restored, and that a 2.31-mill increase would be needed to fund a $27,179,699 budget, plus $45,626 to keep four sports wrestling, cross country, golf, and tennis from being cut.

The district does qualify for two exceptions: special education, and retirement contributions, Les previously said. Therefore, the millage permitted under Act 1 with exceptions would be 2.78 mills without having to cut programming or go out to referendum, she said.

The final budget must be approved by June 30.

In December, the board approved a $27,817,801 preliminary budget, which at the time called for an 8.55-percent, or 4.2-mill increase.

However, Les noted at that time the millage rate had to be artificially inflated in order to provide a balanced budget, and that it didn't reflect the actual millage impact. The most the board could raise taxes is by 1.98 mills, she said.

That budget would have raised the millage rate from 49.14 to 53.34 mills, which would have meant a person with a home valued at $100,000 and assessed at $50,000, would have had to pay $2,667, or $210 more in property taxes to the district next year.

Also at that time, Superintendent Carol Boyce announced that, effective Dec. 31, a freeze would be put on spending on everything except for emergencies and ongoing expenditures.

This year, residents saw a 12.6-percent increase in their property tax rates after the board, on a 5-4 vote in June, adopted a $26,595,297 spending plan for the 2011-12 school year that called for a 5.506-mill increase.

The 2011-12 budget raised the millage rate from 43.64 to 49.14 mills, and meant a person with a home valued at $100,000 that was assessed at $50,000 had to pay $2,457, or $277 more in property taxes to the district.

Also on Tuesday, Debra Demyanovich, director of human resources, announced that 20 applications have been received by the district for the junior high school principal position.

Of those candidates, Demyanovich said six would be interviewed to fill the position, which will be vacated upon the retirement of Principal Thaddeus Kosciolek at the end of this school year.

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