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Taxes could go up in Tuscarora School District next year

December 04, 2007|By DON AINES

MERCERSBURG, Pa. - Property taxes could go up more than 5.7 mills in the Tuscarora School District in 2008-09, but the board voted Monday night not to seek the cap imposed by Act 1 either by referendum or through exemptions in Pennsylvania's school property tax reform law.

The state has set the inflationary index for Tuscarora at 5.7 percent next year, Business Manager Richard Kerr said. Districts cannot exceed their indexes, determined by a state formula, without either applying for exemptions to the cap or going to referendum, he said.

The district's present tax rate is 99.42 mills, Kerr said, or $99.42 per $1,000 of assessed value on a property. A 5.7 percent increase would translate to slightly more than 4.7 mills.

"We're committed to not going to referendum and committed to not seeking any exemptions to increase taxes," Kerr told the board. In voting for the motion, the district can avoid having to submit its budget to the state early next year for preliminary approval, he said.

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Renovations to the high school, however, will be another matter, Kerr told the board. That will require the district to exceed its index.

"The public is going to have to vote yes or no on the project," Kerr said.

An architect could have a plan for the high school renovations ready by next summer and a referendum could be held next fall, Kerr said.

If passed, construction on the high school improvements could begin in the summer of 2009, he said.

A building committee reported to the district earlier this year that the high school needs improvements to its security system, heating and air-conditioning systems, plumbing and pool.

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