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3.5-mill tax hike for Panther Valley

Published June 08. 2019 06:05AM

Panther Valley’s 2019-20 budget will include a tax increase.

Before adopting the proposed budget this week, Wayne Gryzik resigned from his position as board president. Gary Porembo, who was vice president, took up the mantle.

He changed the agenda’s order, making the budget the board’s first priority.

“Right now, before we go any further in our meeting, we have got to pass a budget, or there’s no sense in having a meeting,” Porembo said.

The budget introduces a 3.5 mill increase for Carbon County residents; Schuylkill will see a 3.39 mill hike. Even before the rise, the impoverished district had the highest real estate tax millage in the county.

“When you go through everything that we’re going to be spending, we have to increase our taxes,” Porembo said.

“I hope everybody goes for it, because if not, I don’t know what we will do,” he said.

Panther Valley’s budget lays out expenses totaling $28,109,879, up more than $1 million from last year’s expenditures. According to the district’s 2019-20 budget, the general fund will have $680,000 left at the end of the fiscal year.

Superintendent Dennis Kergick said the district has budgeted an additional $700,000 in special education costs. Cyber and charter costs will also increase by roughly $200,000, along with the district’s Public School Employees’ Retirement System expenses.

Kergick said while Panther Valley’s special education costs have raised steadily each year, revenues from the state have remained the same.

Porembo and Gryzik, along with board secretary Renee DeMelfi and board members Steven Foster and William Mansberry voted to adopt the proposed 2019-20 budget. Irene Genther gave the only opposing vote.

The board has increased taxes four times over the last 10 years, according to business manager Kenneth Marx.

“We have to start tightening the belt,” Mansberry said following the vote.

Board members asked the public for help with cutting expenses in February, after passing a preliminary budget that proposed raising taxes by about 2 percent. The school faced a budget deficit with few ways to cut costs, said the school board’s finance committee.

At that time, they approved budgets for Lehigh Carbon Community College, Lehigh Intermediate Unit 21 and Carbon Career and Technical Institute.

Wow is there any school district in the area that know what they are doing. Tax us right out of town until there is nothing left.
What is going on in PV? They have asked for ACT 1 exemption 8 out of last 9 years.
Housing market is best in years despite interest rates rising this year. If we were indeed getting blood from a stone we wouldn’t have this good of a market.
I think, you’re looking at the housing market from a macroeconomic level. I doubt that large swathes of the Panther Valley district are setting the housing market a blaze, metaphorically speaking.
This is why people are leaving Pennsylvania. This is happening all over the state. The legislators better do something about eliminating school taxes before there is no one left. It will be hitting Lehighton Area too. And to think the voters put the incumbents who don't know how to live with their means back on the ballot for November. Good luck PV residents, we here in Lehighton feel for you. Obviously, no one has any common sense anymore. It's a matter of what you need as opposed to what you want. School districts have no control over the unfunded mandates placed on their backs by the state, but when budgets keep going up and graduation rates and test scores keep going down, something isn't working anymore. Vote them all out!
Did you notice they listed the cost of Special, Cyper, Charter Education in a dollar value, but not a dollar amount to cover Public School Employees’ Retirement System expenses. We taxpayers get nothing of a pension these teachers are getting, and the district superintendents are ashamed to report it in numbers.
I want to address all the people who are not paying their taxes. And all the Certified letters that go out to people in all the towns even Hauto of people who are Not paying PV taxes. This is why we are paying higher taxes. Why can't the county force payment in 1 year. Why can these people get away with not paying taxes for years .

This is a big part of why our taxes are going up as well! This is an area I would like to see addressed right away. It is not fair to good Tax payers.

AS for Act 1, it was poorly written. To many loopholes that never gave the taxpayer the option to vote on the tax increase as promised by the state.
Here are the list of exemptions the state lets the schools use:"
The 10 referendum exceptions are:

• Special education costs that increase by more than the index – in Act 72, special education costs had to increase by more than 10% to be eligible;
• Health care benefits in contracts in effect on January 1, 2006, that rise faster than the inflation index;
• Increases in retirement payments that rise faster than the index – in Act 72, retirement payments had to increase by more than 7.5% to be eligible;
• Emergencies and disasters;
• Court orders;
• Conditions that pose an immediate threat of serious harm or injury;
• Ensuring that district revenue keeps pace with inflation;
• Ensuring that spending per student keeps pace with inflation;
• No Child Left Behind school improvement plans; and,
• School construction: Debt on an existing school construction project; on construction for academic purposes that costs less than a cost-per-square-foot threshold; or on up to $250,000 of construction costs for non-academic construction.

The only way to get away from this is Senate Bill 76 . Not all Counties have our problem and Businesses are not for it.

As for the Real Estate market being good. Look at the market value of the homes in the PV area. I had been a Real Estate Agent a long time ago. People really do not put money into their homes in the towns . And with the higher taxes they are afraid to.

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