Proposed budget includes tax hike

The Loyalsock Township School Board approved a proposed 2017-18 budget by a 5-3 vote during its Wednesday meeting. The spending plan includes a tax increase of about 0.42 mills, from 14.17 to 14.59 mills. For perspective, someone with a $100,000 property could expect a $42 tax increase.

Voting yes were William Carlucci, David Hornberger, Christina Kiessling, Paul Watson II, Paul Young II and Sheila Yates. Voting no were Maureen Carey, John Raymond and Edward Ade Jr.

The proposed budget, with estimated revenues and expenditures of about $22.45 million and a deficit of about $337,691, will be closely reviewed and “picked” at until time comes to vote on a final budget in June, Business Manager Dan Egly said. Though there is room for change, Carey and Raymond agreed their “no” votes were meant to send a message.

“We’ve worked very diligently to combine positions and workloads to save money … the sale of the Loyal Plaza brought in about $220,000 … we have a healthy fund balance,” Raymond said. “I think this is a year we can get away with no tax increase.”

The millage increase is the maximum allowed by the local Act 1 index of about 3 percent, Egly said. He added that the tax increase would be the fifth increase over about 13 years.

The board is making its next meeting, Wednesday, April 26, a work session specifically for the budget. It will begin at 6 p.m., an hour earlier than usual.

In other business, the board:

• Changed its academic calendar to include June 8 as a school day to make up for the snow day taken March 15.

• Authorized administration to dispose of outdated NEC telephones.

• Approved YMCA Child Care Services School-Age Child Care Program to house an after-school child care program at Schick Elementary, pending availability of space, during the 2017-18 school year.