Tax collections improve in Lehighton
Lehighton Area School District’s real estate tax collection is well outpacing where it was a year ago at this time.
During a finance committee meeting Tuesday night, LASD Business Administrator Edward Rarick said the district has collected 84.27% of the $18.39 million it budgeted for real estate taxes in 2021-22.
“Last year at this point, we stood at about 39.9% collected, so that definitely paints a good picture and we’re performing well in that regard,” Rarick said.
The same can be said for realty transfer tax collection, as the district has received $93,543 of the $200,000 it budgeted for in 2021-22.
“To have 46 percent of your budgeted realty transfer tax revenue collected in the first three months of the fiscal year is great,” Rarick said. “A lot of properties are being moved. It has been one of the bright spots of the last few years. We tried to be conservative with the budget number, even though we knew there would be an uptick just based on what we saw late last year.”
From an overall budget sense, Lehighton has 46.5%, or $19.86 million of its anticipated revenues currently in hand.
“We haven’t received much of our federal money yet,” Rarick said. “That includes the COVID-19 grant funding. We’re hoping that starts to come in soon.”
Lehighton has $2.27 million budgeted from federal sources.
With 16.67% of the fiscal year complete, Lehighton is only over budget in one area, building acquisitions. That is a result of bids for an administrative building roof replacement coming in higher than budgeted.
The district awarded the work on the roof in August to Dunmore Roofing and Supply Co. Inc., which submitted the low bid of $198,750. Lehighton budgeted $159,000 for the project and will take the excess amount from its 2021-22 state subsidy.
Rarick said the district is anticipating auditors to be on site around the first week of November for Lehighton’s annual independent audit.
“We’ll be loading our data on to a secure website so they actually get a chance to start looking at that before they get here,” Rarick said. “The auditors will also be assisting with our annual financial report this year.”
Districts are required to submit their AFR to the Pennsylvania Department of Education by the end of October each year, but Rarick said each district gets an automatic one-month extension until the end of November.
“We’re hopeful to have it completed by then without having to request another extension,” Rarick said, “but seeing as though the previous two years we have submitted in March, I think we’re taking great strides in the right direction.”