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Tax increase to state ceiling likely not needed
[January 16, 2013]

Tax increase to state ceiling likely not needed

Jan 16, 2013 (Reading Eagle - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- The Hamburg School District can raise its property tax rate 2.2 percent next year without exceeding the state ceiling, but Business Manager Stuart Whiteleather believes that might not be necessary.

Discussing the preliminary budget for 2013-14 at the school board's meeting Monday, Whiteleather said the 2.2 percent increase would raise the 25.46-mill rate 0.56 mill to 26.02 mills. The annual tax bill on a property assessed at $100,000 would increase $56, to $2,602 from $2,546.

But Whiteleather added: "I'm letting the board know that I don't think that half a mill number is what it's going to be. There is obviously a lot of things yet to be finalized." According to him, state and federal funding should help close a $390,000 gap in the preliminary budget for 2013-14.

"Our revenues right now are at $36.7 million," Whiteleather noted. "Our expenditures are just slightly over $37 million.

The board has scheduled to approve the preliminary budget at its meeting Feb. 11.

The board also heard from Shawn Gravish, principal of Perry Elementary, about efforts to raise funds for a playground for the new Perry Elementary Learning Center Dedicated to Esther H. Ludwig, which will replace the existing school.

He said Perry PTO parents will be contacting local officials and agencies for help with the funding the soft-surface playground and have been in communications with principals across Berks County to find out what works and what to avoid when purchasing playground equipment.

Gravish said that he also plans to engage students in the discussion, prompting them to write narratives about what they would like to see.

Perry Elementary is being razed at the end of the school year to make way for the new school, which is scheduled to open for the 2014-15 school year.

- By Anthony Orozco ___ (c)2013 the Reading Eagle (Reading, Pa.) Visit the Reading Eagle (Reading, Pa.) at Distributed by MCT Information Services

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