Seneca Valley considers another tax increase

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School board members will vote Monday, May 12, on the proposed 2014-15 budget that includes a 3.7 mill tax increase. The increase would mean the tax rate would be 116.45 mills.

A resident living in a home with a market value of $175,500, with a current assessment of $23,690, will pay an extra $88 in taxes if school board members approve the 3.7 mill increase.

School board president Eric DiTullio said about half of that tax increase will go toward the district’s $2.4 million payment into the Pennsylvania State Employees Retirement System this year.

Other new expenses include $1 million budgeted for text books and $500,000 for transportation costs to the newly constructed Cardinal Wuerl High School in Cranberry Township. The district is required by the state to transportation to private and parochial schools in the district.

The district is also expecting an 11 percent increase in its health care costs, said Lynn Burtner, district business administrator.

Ms. Burtner said there is some new revenue that will offset some of the expenses in the $108,763,338 budget.

She said the value of a mill for 2014-15 is expected to be $536,540, a 2.22 percent increase over this school year.

The earned income tax collection is expected to be $9 million, which is an increase of $1.5 million over the last four years, Ms. Burtner said.

According to Ms. Burtner, Seneca Valley has not budgeted for any increase in state funding and building and departmental discretionary budgets have been frozen for the fourth year in a row.

School directors are also considering designating $6 million of the district’s $17 million fund balance to be used to offset expected spikes in the district’s retirement contributions.

Ms. Burtner said it could be used over the next eight or nine years to help mitigate large PSERS contributions.

She said the proposed budget would take $500,000 out of the fund balance to help pay down this year’s PSERS contribution if school directors choose to designate the $6 million.

School board members will vote on the proposed budget Monday, but Ms. Burtner said she expects the budget will change before it is finalized in June. She said changes will occur once the state budget is passed and school officials know what funding they will receive.


Laure Cioffi, freelance writer: suburbanliving@post-gazette.com.

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