In his letter last week encouraging Gov. Tom Corbett to reject Seneca Valley’s recent application to the state Department of Education for permission to raise property taxes, State Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, R-Cranberry, said he's like to eliminate all exceptions include in Act 1.
“The only solution to protect taxpayers is to eliminate all exceptions included in Act 1, thus allowing for true voter referendum on all tax increases above the index,” he said.
The act limits increases unless the district obtains certain exceptions or if voters, in a referendum, approve a tax increase.
In the face of a proposed preliminary budget that shows a $4.8 million shortfall for the 2012-13 school year, Seneca Valley is asking the state for special exceptions under Act. 1. This would permit the district to increase property taxes greater than the inflationary index.
For Seneca Valley, the index under Act 1 is set at 2 percent, or 2.11 mills of tax.
Although the action would give it the option of raising taxes beyond the index, it does not mean district officials plan to do so. It also gives the district permission to ask taxpayers to approve an increase by a referendum vote in the primary election.
The deadline to apply to the state for the exceptions, which requires districts to have a proposed preliminary budget available for the public's inspection, is Feb. 9. School district officials are not required to approve a budget until June.
We want to know what Cranberry Patch readers think. Do you agree with Metcalfe that exceptions under Act 1 should be eliminated and that the public only should approve any tax increases greater than the inflationary index, or might that result in a mess for district finances? Leave your thoughts in the comment section, or answer our Patch Poll.