School Board Approves 2012-13 Budget with Tax Rate Hike
The move raises property taxes by half a mill.
After months of consideration, with virtually no debate or comment, the Southern Lehigh School Board voted 6-3 to approve a slightly modified version of the proposed 2012-13 budget, which will raise property taxes by half a mill.
A local service tax and real estate transfer taxes will also be implemented to support next school year's budget.
School directors Jeff Dimmig, James Lindsay and John Quigley voted against the budget measure, but they were overruled by the other six board members -- Corinne Gunkle, William Lycett, Bill Hayes, Dorothy Mohr, Elizabeth Stelts and board president Thomas McLoughlin.
A separate vote, which financially supports the new budget by raising property taxes by 0.5 mills, passed 5-4, with Lycett joining Dimmig, Lindsay and Quigley in opposing the move.
However, on the collection of a local service tax of $5 per person, the collection of Earned Income Tax (EIT) and the collection of real estate transfer fees. Lindsay abstained from voting, and the other eight members approved the measures.
Property taxes are expected to bring in about $34.8 million next year. An additional $3.5 million will be raised through the EIT, and real estate transfer taxes are estimated to bring $450,000 in revenue.
The half-mill increase is estimated to cost the average homeowner an additional $46 per year, according to district estimates.
Director of Business Services Jeremy Melber said the final budget was modified to allocate $100,000 for unemployment compensation, up from $55,000, due to a miscalculation. The difference is small compared with the overall numbers, he added.
The district is expected to spend nearly $54 million in 2012-13, down from approximately $56.74 in 2011-12.
(Note: This article was updated at 12:30 p.m. on June 5 to correct a minor error in the vote count regarding the collection of a local service tax of $5 per person, the collection of Earned Income Tax (EIT) and the collection of real estate transfer fees.)