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Pottsgrove Budget Final; Taxes Rise 0.39 Percent

LOWER POTTSGROVE PA – Real estate taxes levied by the Pottsgrove School District will rise 0.39 percent during the 2017-2018 academic year, its Board of School Directors agreed Tuesday (June 27, 2017), in a 7-1 vote to approve a final budget of $66.07 million.

As a result the tax bill on what the district calls its “average home,” valued at $120,000, is estimated to increase by about $18. With the new tax rate now set at roughly $38 (37.863 mills) on every $1,000 of assessed value, the total school tax on the same house will amount to $4,560.

An employed home owner in Lower, Upper or West Pottsgrove townships – the municipalities that make up the district – who earns an hourly wage of $20 will work 228 hours, or almost 5-3/4 40-hour weeks, to cover that cost. Tax bills usually are scheduled to go out by July 1 (Saturday), with full payment due by no later than Dec. 31.

Most board members, who had hoped to deliver a no-tax-increase budget to district residents for a second consecutive year, resigned themselves to the notion that what they called a “nominal” rise would be the best they could accomplish.

Board Vice President Al Leach, the only director to oppose the budget, again suggested taking more money from district savings to fill a $150,000 gap that could have avoided the increase. The majority of board members said they considered taking more money from savings unwise, particularly if the state defaults on a pledge to increase its funding by $200,000 that the budget already includes.

Relying on savings to bring this year’s tax rate down to zero “is only setting ourselves up for a bigger hole next year,” board President Matt Alexander replied.

District Business Administrator David Nester also cautioned that “small, incremental tax increases are better than zeros followed by a big spike.” That scenario occurred in Pottsgrove more than a decade ago, when three years of no-increase budgets led to a fourth-year tax hike of about 10 percent. “If you don’t maintain slow, steady revenue growth, you end up facing a raise in taxes you don’t want,” Nester said.

Director Jim Lapic was absent and did not vote.

“This (increase) is more than I want, but it’s the thing to do,” director Rick Rabinowitz noted. “It’s the hardest vote I’ve had to make regarding a budget since I joined the board. But I think we have to back the administration’s diligent efforts in getting us this far.”

“Our residents are already over-taxed,” director Bill Parker agreed. “It should always be our goal to seek a zero-percent tax increase … but I’m impressed with the administration’s handling of some of these difficult decisions,” he added.

Related (to the Pottsgrove Board of School Directors’ June 27 meeting):

  • Pottsgrove Budget Final; Taxes Rise 0.39 Percent

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