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TASB approves 3.17-mill tax hike

The Tamaqua Area School Board on Tuesday approved a $39.9 million spending plan for the 2024-25 school year.

The vote on the budget, which calls for a 3.17-mill tax increase, was not unanimous. The board voted 5-2, with two members absent, to approve the plan which set the millage at 44.93 mills.

Business manager Connie Ligenza said the millage increase would mean an extra $10 a month, or $120 a year, for the average taxpayer across all municipalities.

Last year, the board avoided a tax increase by dipping into the district’s fund balance.

Ligenza, when presenting the budget proposal earlier this year, provided the board with fund balance totals for the past 10 years.

The fund balance has dropped from $5.8 million to $2.26 million from 2016 to 2023 - going down $1 million between 2022 and 2023.

Board President Larry Wittig said the district is required to maintain a fund balance between 5% and 8%.

“We have been precariously hovering under 5%,” he said.

The budget for 2024-25 shows an ending fund balance of $2,087,722, which is slightly above the minimum 5% level of $1,995,421.

Maintaining that fund balance at the minimum required level was the driving force behind the tax increase, Wittig said.

The final budget, as approved, shows a beginning fund balance of $2,116,099, revenues of $39,880,052, expenses of $39,908,429, and an end fund balance of $2,087,722.

In addition to the 44.93 mills of real estate tax, other levies include per capita, Section 679, at $5; per capita, Act 511, $5; earned income tax and real estate transfer tax 1% each, which is shared; EMS tax, $5, which is shared, and assessed occupation tax, $225.

Board members voting for the budget were Melanie Dillman, Dan Schoener, Nicholas Boyle, Wittig, and Bryan Miller. Opposed were Trina Schellhammer and Thomas Bartasavage. Absent from the meeting were board members Nancy Jones and Mark Rother.