Muncy School Board to raise property taxes

MUNCY – Muncy’s school board approved its 2013-14 budget on Monday night. The $15,664,953 budget raises property taxes by 2.2 percent to 13.28 mills.

That is the most the district could raise taxes without going to a referendum under Act 1, the state’s taxpayer relief law passed in 2006. The tax hike will cost the average homestead about $31 more a year, according to district business manager David Edkin.

Board member Bill Schneck asked Edkin if further cuts were made in the budget since the board approved a preliminary version last month.

“Actually, we had to add to it by 19 or 20 thousand because the cafeteria needs a new steamer,” Edkin said. “We did reestimate the earned income tax and real estate revenues from the county. Our earned income tax collections are 23 percent more than last year in the same period.”

Edkin went on to explain how the district’s contributions to the Pennsylvania public school employees retirement system (PSERS) will keep growing through 2025, and that Act 1 prevents the district “from playing catch up” by holding taxes steady for many years, then raising them all at once.

“You have to have that millage in place, regardless of how big any reserves you have are,” Edkin said.

“I don’t feel it’s right to keep hitting people for more when times are already hard,” Schneck said.

The board passed the budget 5-1, with Schneck dissenting; Scott McLean, Danielle Baum and Brian Krah were absent.

The board also approved the homestead and farmstead property tax resolution for 2013; property owners with homestead exclusions, of which there are about 1,950 in the district, will receive a rebate of up to $171.26 on their property taxes next year.