School board sets limit on a possible tax increase

By: 
Ted Lutz
Staff Writer

School board sets limit on a possible tax increase

By Ted Lutz
Staff Writer
Adoption of the next budget for the Kane Area School District is not expected until June.
But the school board took action Thursday to assure property-owners that a possible tax increase for 2019-20 won't exceed 3.5 percent.
This is the month of the year when school boards across the state adopt resolutions to limit possible tax increases to the state-set percentage index. 
The index differs among school districts.
The "base" state index is 2.3 percent. 
The Kane "adjusted index" under state Act 1 is 3.5 percent.
By acting now to put a cap on a possible tax hike in the next budget, the Kane School Board will have months to prepare and discuss a spending plan for 2019-20.
School boards failing to adopt a limit for a tax increase could see immediate work on a budget that could go to voters for approval at a referendum.
Kane School Board members Claire Ann Buckley, Linda A. Anderson, John Ball, Susan Grolemund, Susan Aul, Tom Kerek and Adam Risinger voted Thursday to limit a possible tax hike to 3.5 percent. 
Board members Krista Jamerson and Scott Paul did not attend the meeting in the middle school auditorium.
Although the cap for a possible tax increase was set at 3.5 percent, it is highly unlikely that any hike will come close to that percentage.
A year ago, the school board agreed to cap a tax hike at 3.7 percent, the state index for Kane at the time. The 2018-19 budget carries a 2.5 percent increase.
Business Manager Jessica Gabriel provided information on the action taken Thursday by the school board.
According to her figures, a maximum allowable tax hike in 2019-20 would raise the tax rate in the McKean County portion of the school district   by .62 mill from the current rate of 17.72 mills to 18.34 mills.
Such an increase means property-owners would pay 62 cents more in taxes for every $1,000 in assessed property valuation. She said the "average" residential school tax bill in McKean County would jump by $23.15 from $661.70 to $684.85, if for some reason the next budget carries the maximum increase allowed.
The action taken Thursday to set the cap does not mean the school board plans to raise taxes in the next budget. 

For full article, check the Dec. 7, 2018 printed or e-edition of The Kane Republican.

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