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District Commits to 5.2% Tax Increase

District offices on Kauffman Road, Lower Pottsgrove PA.

District offices on Kauffman Road.

STOWE PA – Property taxes in the Pottsgrove School District next year will rise by no more than 5.2 percent, the district Board of School Directors officially agreed Tuesday night (Jan. 13, 2009).

The decision limits the district to an operating budget of about $52 million during 2009-2010.

As a result, the district’s real estate tax rate during the 2009-2010 school year could increase by as much as 1.639 mills, or about $1.64 for every $1,000 of a property’s assessed value. The district’s current tax rate is 31.519 mills, or about $31.52 per $1,000 assessed. The new rate, at its highest, would be 33.158 mills.

Bottom line: for a home within the district assessed at $120,000, on which its owners last year paid school taxes of $3,782, those same owners next year could pay an additional $197, for a total school tax bill of $3,979.

Acknowledging the area’s increasingly tough economic climate, board members pledged to do their best to lower that amount. They admitted, however, uncertainty over how they’ll accomplish that goal.

In a near-unanimous vote the board, during its regular January meeting at West Pottsgrove Elementary School,  adopted a resolution to be sent to Pennsylvania’s Department of Education (PDE) that certifies it will raise taxes by no more than allowed under a complicated state mathematical formula. Promising to stay within the Act 1 index, as the PDE equation is known, limits to 5.2 percent the amount of additional tax revenue the district can collect next year.

The move gives board members more time to craft a budget, spares them the agony of a public vote on the spending plan, and offers taxpayers a glimmer of hope that, somehow, they might pay less.

Board President Michael Neiffer cast the only dissenting vote.

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