Preliminary budget includes tax hike
School board also OKs bond swap to save district $600,000
The Daniel Boone School Board approved with a 6-2 vote on May 8 a preliminary 2017-18 budget with a 3.2 percent property tax increase.
If that is the final budget approved by the board by June 30, the millage rate would increase from the current 29.70 mills to 30.68 mills.
Property owners who pay $2,970 for every $100,000 of assessed value, would pay $3,068.
Board members had unanimously approved earlier that night a budget of $55,812,579.79, with real estate millage not to exceed the current 29.70 mills.
“We don’t know yet about staffing — how can we limit revenue now?” asked board member Jeff Scott, adding that if expenses change the district’s revenue needs to be able to change.
“There is no flexibility in the budget now,” said board member Tamara Twardowski.
Board members Connor Kurtz and Richard Martino opposed the new motion, which rescinded the motion for no tax increase.
Board member Carol Beitz was absent from the meeting.
The board had approved on Feb. 13, a preliminary budget of $56,336,312, with a 4.5 percent tax increase per Act 1 and utilizing the district’s retirement exception.
Taxes would have increased to 31.09 mills.
The board also approved to refinance the last of its 2008 bond series — which is now $13.4 million — at a fixed interest rate of 4.5 percent.
Financial Advisor Louis Verdelli, of RBC Capital Markets, Lancaster, said the bond swap would save the district $600,000
Verdelli said the interest rate would be locked in on June 5, before the Federal Reserve’s next meeting on June 14.
The closing date would be early July.
The board has tabled a vote on eliminating the district’s per capita tax, which would have been effective with 2018 municipal budgets.
Amity Township Manager Troy Bingaman, Union Township Manager Jason Wager, and Birdsboro Borough Manager Aaron Durso, said eliminating the “head count” tax on anyone over age 18 would impact each of their municipal budgets.
Applicable residents of Amity and the Borough of Birdsboro each pay a flat tax of $15.
Union Township residents pay $10.
Net savings to the school district are $102,000, said Business Manager Loren Small.
Per capita tax bills are generated by the district office.
“It would be a loss of $15,000 of revenue — 15 percent of our current street project budget,” said Durso, adding that the borough annually donates $15,000 to the Boone Area Library, 129 N. Mill St., Birdsboro.
“I think it’s a fair tax. No tax is fair, but it’s a straight up flat tax,” said Durso.
He said its elimination would likely result in the borough enacting “a tax to counteract a tax that is no longer coming,” although he couldn’t comment further.
The Borough Council’s next meeting is June 15.
Bingaman said Amity Township’s revenue from the per capita tax is $40,000.
Another option is for the school board to impose an additional one-tenth of a mill on the property tax rate.
Property taxes are paid by all owners of property located within the Daniel Boone School District.
“The cost of billing — mailing the bills — Daniel Boone has staff costs,” said board President Michael D. Wolfe.
“Trying to keep track of census data — that is why it’s called a nuisance tax,” said Small.