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School Board Approves 2012-13 Budget with Tax Rate Hike

The move raises property taxes by half a mill.

After , with virtually no debate or comment, the Southern Lehigh School Board voted 6-3 to approve a slightly modified version of the proposed 2012-13 budget, which will raise property taxes by half a mill.

A local service tax and real estate transfer taxes will also be implemented to support next school year's budget.

School directors Jeff Dimmig, James Lindsay and John Quigley voted against the budget measure, but they were overruled by the other six board members -- Corinne Gunkle, William Lycett, Bill Hayes, Dorothy Mohr, Elizabeth Stelts and board president Thomas McLoughlin.

A separate vote, which financially supports the new budget by raising property taxes by 0.5 mills, passed 5-4, with Lycett joining Dimmig, Lindsay and Quigley in opposing the move.

However, on the collection of a local service tax of $5 per person, the collection of Earned Income Tax (EIT) and the collection of real estate transfer fees. Lindsay abstained from voting, and the other eight members approved the measures.

Property taxes are expected to bring in about $34.8 million next year. An additional $3.5 million will be raised through the EIT, and real estate transfer taxes are estimated to bring $450,000 in revenue.

The half-mill increase is estimated to cost the average homeowner an additional $46 per year, according to district estimates.

Director of Business Services Jeremy Melber said to allocate $100,000 for unemployment compensation, up from $55,000, due to a miscalculation. The difference is small compared with the overall numbers, he added.

The district is expected to spend nearly $54 million in 2012-13, down from approximately $56.74 in 2011-12.

(Note: This article was updated at 12:30 p.m. on June 5 to correct a minor error in the vote count regarding the collection of a local service tax of $5 per person, the collection of Earned Income Tax (EIT) and the collection of real estate transfer fees.)

careless fills June 06, 2012 at 01:37 PM
I'm the first to jump on overspending, but this issue is a tempest in a teapot. A smalll adjustment in one line item in the budget for a "project" is hardly anything to get your panties in a bunch over. After all, the budget is only an estimate of what will be spent, and not the real money that will be spent. Even if this "mistake" wasn't discovered now, it almost certainly would have been when the real bill was going to be paid and the "invoice" was examined. Good night.
Liberalism is a mental disorder June 06, 2012 at 03:18 PM
Ah bull. This is a $55 million dollar budget that was under development. They found a 0.08% error. You critics are all a bunch of losers who seek to elevate yourselves by taking shots at anybody in a school system who does not achieve to "your" high standards. And Stew, you are so clueless it's just amazing. You think an external CPA never makes a 0,08% miscalculation? And the books are audited by an external accounting firms, and they NEVER find any issues with the books. DUH.
Voice Of Reason June 06, 2012 at 09:06 PM
Once again stew....feeding off of erroneous reporting. If you would attend meetings like I do, and not just ridicule people, you would know that the business director did not say it was a mistake, he said it was an under estimation because the most recent bills went up, and felt the $55,000 was not enough to cover for next year. Get the facts straight and maybe you won't look so ridiculous all the time.
Christina Georgiou June 07, 2012 at 10:43 AM
Just to clarify, the reporting was not erroneous. According to Merriam-Webster a "miscalculation" is "a wrong judgment". According to Oxford, "to estimate an amount, a figure, a measurement, etc. wrongly." And, according to the Free Dictionary, "To count or estimate incorrectly". That said, the figure was corrected before the final vote. And while $45,000 is nothing to sneeze at, in the face of a $54 million budget, it's really not a lot.
Sree September 22, 2012 at 10:41 AM
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