Last updated: June 27. 2013 1:30AM - 2324 Views
By - jsylvester@civitasmedia.com - (570) 991-6110



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UNION TWP. — The Northwest Area School Board approved its 2013-14 budget Wednesday calling for a tax increase in real estate millage of .22o7 mills and stipulating spending of $18.2 million, including $7.7 million in professional salaries.


A mill is $1 in taxation for every $1,000 in assessed real estate valuation.


The budget was ratified on an 8-0 vote, with Randy Tomasacci, board chairman, stating that in spite of the tax hike the administration “Worked hard at consolidating expenses and looking out for the best interest of the taxpayers.”


Under a spending plan which is scheduled to be submitted to the state Department of Education by June 30, the tax rate was increased to 9.4193 mills up from 9.1986 for 2012-13. The budget currently is in deficit by $270,207; $18,083,503 in proposed spending in comparison to $17,813.296 in revenue.


Albert Melone Jr., financial advisor for the school district, said it is possible through federal and state funding, the deficit can be eradicated.


Under a schedule prepared by Melone, the yearly financial impact to homeowners will be: $15.45 for real estate valued at $70,000; $20.75 for $94,000; $22.07 for $100,000; $26.48 for $120,000; $30.90 for $140,000; $35.31 for $160,000 and $39.73 for $180,000.


Northwest also receives revenue from an earned income tax of one-half of 1 percent and two $5 per capita taxes as well as occupational assessment taxes of $5 and $10 in Huntington Township.


In addition the board moved ahead with a proposed bond issue of up to $3 million to finance renovations to existing school buildings. The board granted approval for PNC Bank, the Albert Melone Co. and Stevens & Lee, bond counsel, to begin the process of preparing bond documents. This action came after hearing a presentation by David Payne of PNC Bank, who said rates are historically low in spite of recent volatility caused by Federal Reserve and the time appears right for Northwest to incur more debt.


Although one school director expressed some reservations about public reaction to more debt, on a roll call, the vote was 8-0 to move ahead on the proposed bond issue.


In other decisions:


• The board acted to invest $50,954 from the recently resolved sale of the Garrison Building into a capital projects account.


• A bid of $7,699 was accepted from Bollinger Inc. for sports insurance. Bollinger’s plan of a $30 premium for voluntary student accident insurance was also accepted.


• Resignations from the educational staff by Bethany Bosak and Karen Brubaker were accepted with regret.


• PNC Bank of Mocanaqua was selected as depository and acting district treasurer for 2013-14.

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