WEST MIDDLESEX SCHOOLS Board OKs increase in property taxes

The last-minute receipt of an unanticipated state grant saved taxpayers $20,000 more.
WEST MIDDLESEX, Pa. -- The average residential taxpayer in the West Middlesex Area School District will see his property tax bill rise about $83 next year.
The school board approved a $10.7 million budget Thursday that calls for a 13.8-mill property tax increase, said Thomas Hubert, board president.
That will generate $276,000 in new revenue for the district. One mill costs the average residential taxpayer $6 a year.
The largest part of the tax increase -- 9.8 mills -- is going for debt service, Hubert said, noting the board is committed to raising taxes a total of 18 mills over the next two years to pay off $5 million borrowed for the renovation of the Oakview Elementary School.
The remaining 4 mills will go for operating costs, he said.
The board is also tapping its budgetary reserve (a savings account for school districts) for $450,000 to help balance the spending plan.
Original proposal: Hubert said the final 13.8-mill increase is a far cry from the 64-mill increase being discussed when the school board got its first look at the proposed 2001-2002 budget six weeks ago.
It had been cut down to 29.8 mills when the budget was presented for formal introduction May 30 and the board and administration have been whittling away at it in weekly meetings since then.
Hubert said the school district got a break this week when the state Department of Education announced it was awarding the district a $95,000 Small Schools Grant next year, something the board wasn't counting on.
The board decided to use $20,000 of that money to reduce the size of the tax increase to the 13.8-mill level and put the rest into its budgetary reserve, Hubert said.
The total property tax millage now stands at 147.

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