Bethel Park taxes to increase more than half a mill
Bethel Park School Board members approved a budget that includes a real estate tax increase of more than half a mill.
The 2014-2015 budget amount of $78.9 million was approved by the eight present school board members. Board member Dr. Tim Campbell joined the early part of the meeting by phone, but the connection was lost before the budget vote.
The budget for the next school year raises the district millage rate to 22.4276.
State Act 1 would have allowed the district to increase the tax rate by 2.6 percent. In addition, the district applied for and was granted state exemptions to exceed that 2.6 based upon its contributions to the state school employees’ retirement fund.
Matt Howard, assistant to the superintendent/finance and operations, said the majority of the tax increase will be used to pay the approximately $1 million the district must pay to the Pennsylvania Public School Employees’ Retirement System during the coming school year.
“(Real estate taxes) are the only income we have,” said board member Jim Mean. “The only way we have to make money is to increase taxes.”
In other business, board members approved the sale of Logan Elementary School to Bethel Park Retirement Living Properties for $700,000.
The school, which until six years ago, was rented by the Community College of Allegheny County, had not been used as district classrooms for more than two decades. The former school had been on the market for more than four years.
The board also accepted a $10,000 donation from the Bethel Baseball Association. The money will be used to help rebuild the field across from the former Bladerunners ice rink. The field was widely used before construction of the new high school.
The district also accepted a donation of 1,000 cases of rock salt from the Bethel Park Walmart Store.
Board member David Amaditz praised the baseball association and Walmart as well as other groups and businesses that regularly make donations to the district.
“We would never be able to do it without the community involvement,” he said.