Board OKs budget with tax hike

Montoursville Area School Board Tuesday night approved a final budget for next year that hikes the real estate millage by .20.

The $28.9 million spending plan passed 5-3 following brief discussion.

Voting in favor of the budget were school directors Jeff Schans, James Bergen, Ellen Stoner, Tom McNamara, and Scott Konkle. Voting against were George Hagemeyer, Dale Ulmer and Dora Pioli.

Jill Kaplan was absent.

Noting the transfer of $330,000 from the general fund to the capital reserve, Ulmer said he could not vote in favor of the budget. That transfer brought the capital reserve total amount to $3.2 million.

Ulmer conceded that while the district might well have to raise taxes in coming years, now was not the time to do it.

“I just felt this year we could not afford a tax increase,” he said.

Pioli also made it clear she could not support a budget with a tax hike.

“I am definitely not in favor of it,” she said. “This is a tough time. I think people need a break.”

She explained her vote in favor of a tax hike last month was part of the preliminary budget process.

Under a .20 millage hike, a homeowner with a property with an assessed value of $100,000 would pay an additional $20 per year in real estate taxes.

Superintendent Dr. Timothy Bowers noted that the budget also includes the elimination of the per capita tax.

Business manager Robert Saul said that the loss of the per capita tax will mean about $100,000 less in revenues.

He noted that the district is receiving about $27,000 less than expected in Title 1 funding.

The board approved the purchase of a scoreboard for Memorial Stadium at a cost of $65,000.

Bowers said the hope is to secure some corporate sponsorship to at least partly offset the district’s costs.

In personnel matters, the board eliminated a full-time guidance secretary position.

Mike Mussina was approved as varsity boys basketball coach, replacing Mark Molesky.

Molesky becomes the first assistant coach.

Mussina will be paid a stipend of $4,170 and Molesky, $4,100.

The board met in executive session following the meeting to consider personnel matters.