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Some Waynesboro school district property owners will save on taxes

June 11, 2008|By JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, Pa. -- Slightly more than half of the property owners in the Waynesboro Area School District can expect to receive $100 in savings on their real estate tax bills to be mailed in July.

The money coming from slot machines revenues will translate into $100.59 of savings for 7,309 property owners in the school district, Business Administrator Caroline Dean said.

During her presentation to the school board Tuesday, Dean estimated that she sends out 13,000 tax bills each year.

Property owners were sent "homestead/farmstead" applications to become eligible for the gaming revenue made available as part of Act 1 of 2006. Those applications were reviewed by the county for its approval of eligibility, and one of the main criteria was that it must be an owner-occupied property.

The school district received about $730,000 from the nearly $613 million made available by the state for the inaugural year of broad-based property tax relief.

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"It's not available just for a justification for us to raise the taxes," board member Leland Lemley said, partially referring to the board's preliminary budget with a 3.5-mill tax increase for the 2008-09 school year.

The justification for raising taxes is a clearly demonstrated need for the money, board member Pat Heefner responded.

A tax increase of 3.5 mills would translate into $60 of additional taxes for the average homeowner in the district, assuming the average home is assessed at about $17,000.

The 7,300 property owners will see a line on their bills that appears as a reduced assessment of their properties, Dean said. Administration of the new program will cost the district about $300, she said.

The school board next meets June 24, which is a change from its typical meeting schedule. The final budget is expected to be adopted that night and submitted to the Pennsylvania Department of Education by the end of the month.

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