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MASD raising your property taxes; find out how much first increase since 2014-15 will cost you

By Phyllis Zimmerman, Special to the Press & Journal
Posted 6/20/19

Property owners in the Middletown Area School District can expect to pay more in real estate taxes after July 1, but it’s not as much as district officials originally anticipated.

The school …

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MASD raising your property taxes; find out how much first increase since 2014-15 will cost you

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Property owners in the Middletown Area School District can expect to pay more in real estate taxes after July 1, but it’s not as much as district officials originally anticipated.

The school board finalized a $49,092,647 budget for 2019-20 on Tuesday that will increase the district’s property tax rate by 2.44 percent, a notable drop from a proposed 4.37 percent increase tentatively approved last month.

The finalized tax increase is 0.54 mills. To find out your increased cost, take your property value and multiply it by 0.00054. In other words, a property owner in the district will pay an additional $54 per year in real estate taxes next year for each $100,000 of assessed value, $81 for $150,000, $108 for $200,000, and so on.

This is the first time the district has raised taxes since 2014-15. The upcoming year is expected to include building renovations and/or new construction to meet a projected enrollment surge at the elementary school level.

Last month, Superintendent Lori Suski and Chief Financial Officer David Franklin stated that they would continue efforts to reduce the proposed 4.37 percent increase. Since then, planned spending in the district for next year has been reduced by about $373,000, Franklin said Tuesday.

Reductions include about a $112,000 drop in employee salaries due to retirements and a resignation, $100,000 savings from a new printer lease, and a $83,000 cut in technology spending that does not “impact students’ academic achievement,” Franklin said.

Also, the district’s anticipated revenue for 2019-20 increased by about $350,000 from figures presented in January, Franklin said.

Latest figures include a $240,000 rise in local government revenue that Franklin said is mostly due to an increase in interest revenue and real estate transfers. The district also saw an unexpected rise in property value figures since May. He attributed it to construction in the Woodridge development.

The district is paying $29,000 less next year for students’ tuition at Dauphin County Technical School. Costs were offset by the addition of Harrisburg as a contributing member of the tech school’s seven-district consortium.

However, the district is pulling $1,011,091 from its unassigned fund balance for 2019-2020 to balance the budget. This is $650,000 more than what administrators proposed in May.

While projected expenditures are set at $49,092,647, the estimated revenue falls short at $48,081,556.

Franklin told the Press & Journal on Thursday that the unassigned fund balance will total $3,045,044 after the use of $1,011,091 during 2019-20.

The vote on the budget was unanimous with no debate. School board members commended Franklin and Suski on Tuesday for their work in reducing district costs for next year, as well as the lower tax increase.

“I’d like to thank Mr. Franklin and Dr. Suski and the rest of our administration for the financial stability of our district,” board member Christopher Lupp said.