Pottsgrove Keeps No-Tax-Increase Promise for 2020-2021

LOWER POTTSGROVE PA – As expected, a zero-tax-increase Pottsgrove School District 2020-2021 general budget of $68,704,579 was unanimously approved by its school board Tuesday (June 9, 2020). It spares property owners, many of whom are without jobs or struggling economically because of the coronavirus pandemic, any additional school taxes for the next 12 months.

The district tax rate of 38.102 mills, which translates into a tax cost of $38 on every $1,000 of a property’s assessed value, remains unchanged. Rates for so-called “nuisance” taxes that bring in additional revenue – the earned income tax, per capita tax, and real estate transfer tax – also remain unchanged.

However, as Business Administrator David Nester explained early last month, the district projected revenue losses of $1.4 million in the coming year. That gap was closed in part by heavily drawing on district savings. It pulled $1 million from money set aside years ago to pay down teacher retirement obligations, another $512,000 from the district’s unassigned fund balance, and $83,000 from its vocational education reserve.

Additionally, the district found ways to cut expenses without sacrificing educational “integrity,” Superintendent Dr. William Shirk said. It also will buy new buses with capital reserves to eliminate another $260,000 and it will take an allowed “premium holiday” for one month to reduce insurance costs by another $465,000, both to reduce general fund expenses, according to Nester.

In a happy turn of events, late-announced additional revenue losses in state homestead and farmstead exclusion funding that Nester also described last month – it reduces local property taxes with casino and other gambling proceeds by about $299 per property – were covered by Pennsylvania’s use of federal COVID-19 funding.

To make paying taxes less of a burden this year, school directors also to add one more installment payment option. It allows property owners to pay their taxes over a four-month period, if they choose, rather than three months. The board also cut in half, from 10 percent to 5 percent, the amount of penalty fees charged for late-paid taxes in November and December.

Photo by Boaz Arad via Flickr, used under a Creative Commons license

Legal advertisement published

A legal advertisement announcing the board’s intent to vote on the budget (below) was published May 4 (Monday).

POTTSGROVE SCHOOL DISTRICT Final Budget Notice NOTICE is given that the Proposed Final Budget for the General Fund of Pottsgrove School District for the 2020-2021 fiscal year in its most recent form is available for public inspection on the District’s website (www.pgsd.org), and will be presented for adoption as a Final Budget at a school board meeting to be held at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 9, 2020. The budget may be amended before final adoption. If an individual is unable to access the Proposed Final Budget on the District website, a printed copy may be obtained by contacting Mr. David Nester, Business Administrator, 1301 Kauffman Road, Pottstown, PA 19464. Ashley Custer Board Secretary MERC May 4 a-1