Avonworth to limit tax hike

If the Avonworth School Board decides to increase property taxes to fund the district’s 2019-20 budget, it will not be increasing them any more than the index percentage allowed by state law.

During the first meeting of the 2019 calendar year, the newly reorganized Avonworth School Board discussed the real estate tax rate for the 2019-20 school year and anticipates passing a resolution at their next meeting to limit the real estate tax rate to the Act 1 Index.

In 2006, the Pennsylvania Legislature passed Act 1, which requires school districts to make a choice in January. Districts may choose to pass a preliminary budget that reflects a tax rate increase above the Act 1 index, which would require voter approval of a ballot referendum, or to “pledge” not to increase above the index.

The Act 1 index for Avonworth is 2.3 percent, allowing the district, should it choose, to raise real estate taxes 2.3 percent over the 2018-19 rate. Additionally, school districts have the option of asking the Pennsylvania Department of Education for certain allowable exceptions to further increase taxes. The exceptions can be requested to cover increases relating to special education costs and/or increases in pension costs.If granted, the district would not have to obtain voter approval for the above-index increase.

As a result of discussions at last Monday’s workshop session, the board anticipates approving Resolution #011419B on Jan. 14, to limit the 2019-20 real estate tax rate to 2.3 percent.