Pine-Richland officials voted 7 to 1 at Monday’s school board meeting to approve a proposed final budget with a real estate tax increase of 3.1 percent. The increase bridges a $1.6 million funding gap for the 2013-14 school year.
Board member Stephen Hawbaker voted against the motion.
As of May 6, the proposed budged shows $69,602,589 in total expenditures with revenues at $69,327,088—a difference of $275,501.
To make up the remainder of the shortfall, the tentative budget uses $275,501 from the district’s fund balance for capital improvements.
Dana Siford, director of finance and school service, said the budget does not include program or personnel cuts.
She added there are a few positions that may be converted into different types of roles, but the details of these have not been finalized yet.
“Our HR director will be meeting with these two or three individuals this week, which is why the details are not finalized as of today,” Siford said in an email Monday.
The 3.1 percent tax increase equals about 0.5698 mills, bringing the tax millage rate to 18.9492.
Siford estimated the value of a mill currently is about $2,460,124, based on Allegheny County's reassessed property values. Depending on the outcome of property appeals, this figure could still fluctuate up or down, she said.
The budget will now be on display to the public at the district administrative offices as well as on the Pine-Richland website at www.pinerichland.org.
Officials are expected to adopt a finalized budget at the June 10 school board meeting.
The Property Factor
As is, the budget as is still presents a number of assumptions and estimates because of Allegheny County property reassessments, according to the district.
“A challenging circumstance for all public school districts in Allegheny County this year has been the impact of the county-wide property reassessment,” a district statement on the budget said.
In 2012, Allegheny County completed a court ordered reassessment of residential and commercial property values. These values will be used by the Pine-Richland School District for tax bills issued on July 1, 2013.
To prevent a windfall of revenue, the district is required to reduce its current millage rate.
Adding to the complexity of the budgeting process, there are still hundreds of assessment appeals filed and unresolved with Allegheny County.
“Resolution of these appeals continually changes the total assessed value for our community,” the district statement said.
The district will continue to monitor the results of these appeals over the next few weeks and will adjust all real estate tax revenue calculations accordingly.
Thoughts on this year’s proposed budget? Tell us in the comment section below.
Check out some of today's other top stories here.