Pine-Richland budget reduces tax rate

Revenue still projected to rise

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School directors have approved a 2013-14 budget of $69,541,750 with a projected fund balance of $275,500 for capital improvements and a property tax rate of 19.2083 mills.

While the millage rate for property owners in Pine and Richland will be lower than the current 22.815-mill rate, the amount of tax revenue is projected to increase 2.61 percent because of Allegheny County property reassessments.

Under the new budget, the value of each mill will increase to $2.4 million.

The budget was approved 5-3 Monday with directors Therese Dawson, Stephen Hawbaker, and Marc Casciani dissenting. Virginia Goebel was not in attendance.

There are no cuts in faculty or programs.

The budget that was approved by school directors on Monday calls for a tax increase that's less than had been initially contemplated in February when a preliminary budget was approved.

At that time, the district was anticipating a $69.4 million budget with a 4.24 percent increase in the millage rate. As advertised, the preliminary budget showed total expenditures of $69.42 million with revenues of $68.79 million and using a fund balance of $630,553.

Last year, the district raised taxes by 0.9438 mills, about 4.3 percent -- $171.02 in additional tax payments for the owner of a property with a median assessed value of $179,200.

Other tax levies are an earned income tax rate of 0.5 percent, a per capita tax of $5 for individuals 18 years old and older, and a "Pennsylvania School Code per capita tax" rate of $5 for those 18 and older.

In an effort to provide some relief for property owners, the school board also approved a "homestead and farmstead exclusion resolution" that allows for a property tax discount. Funded by proceeds from the state gaming industry, only primary residences are eligible for the relief.

School officials indicated that "most owner-occupied homes and farms" are eligible, but residents should have an application on file with Allegheny County indicating the house they live in is their homestead.

A news release explaining the exclusion program indicates: "(R)esidents can receive a reduction in their county tax bill under Act 50. They will also receive a reduction in assessed value for their school tax. Each approved homestead will receive a real estate tax reduction amount of $192.08. The reduction in real estate tax assessed value on a resident's tax notice would be in the amount of $10,000."

More information can be found at www.pinerichland.org/budget.

education - neigh_north

Karen Kane: kkane@post-gazette.com or 724-772-9180.


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