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Waynesboro board appoints 7 to tax study commission

September 13, 2006|by JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - The Waynesboro Area School Board on Tuesday appointed seven people to its Act 1 tax study commission following further discussion about the makeup of the panel.

The group consists of Terry Eisenhower, a certified public accountant who lives in the Borough of Waynesboro; the Rev. Lee Daywalt, who will represent the northern section of the district; Susan Gordon, a bookkeeper who also will represent the north; K. Marilyn Smith, a school board member sitting on the panel; and Matthew Richardson, Eunice Statler and James Oliver, all representing Washington Township. Richardson works in the long-term care industry, while Statler and Oliver are both retired.

Mandates in Pennsylvania's Act 1 of 2006 told the state's 501 public school districts to form panels of five, seven or nine people to recommend if or how the burden of property taxes should be shifted to income taxes. The law seeks a diverse group that will spend three months forming a report on how taxes should be levied and collected.

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"We're not going to be able to get the diversity," board member Leland Lemley said while skimming the list.

The school board originally did not have any women apply to be on the panel and received the vast majority of volunteers from Washington Township. The school board then recruited several people.

The school board on Tuesday looked at its list of 10 candidates and considered increasing the number of people on its panel to nine. However, several board members championed the smaller group, saying it was more diverse, would mean less schedules to coordinate and might prove beneficial as the panel wrestles with tough concepts.

"I like this smaller group," board member Anna Bostwick-Foley said. "I think it's less cumbersome."

Her motion to proceed with the panel of seven was approved by every board member except Lemley, who wanted a panel of nine to include more volunteers.

"It's a very difficult thing to do to say, 'We don't need you,'" Lemley said.

The school board reserves the right to reject the panel's recommendations, which are intended to appear as a referendum on ballots next May.

Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell signed Special Session House Bill 39 into law on June 27. He says it will mean $1 billion in property tax cuts annually, although critics question the availability of gambling revenue to offset those cuts.

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