Lower Dauphin's School Board approved a 3 percent increase in property taxes for the upcoming 2022-2023 school year in a budget adopted at its Monday, June 13 meeting.
The board voted 6-2 to approve the budget which contained a 3 percent property tax increase. The tax increase will bring in an additional $930,673 in revenue.
The $73,996,000 budget raises property taxes for the first time in more than a decade. The millage rate is increased to 18.97, which means that a home with the median assessed value of $126,700 would pay $2,403.50 in property taxes - a $69.69 increase.
That tax increase will be offset by a gain in the Homestead/Farmstead payments from the state's Taxpayer Relief Fund. The increase there works out to a reduction in property taxes of roughly $51.54 on a qualifying home at the median assessed value of $126,700. So, in effect, tax bills for that sample property would see a net increase $18.15 for the school year or $1.51 per month.
Superintendent Rob Schultz said the district will still need to use $5,625,000 from its fund balance to supplement the district’s revenue sources, marking the fourth year in a row the district has had to take money from its reserves. Using that much from the fiscal reserves is estimated to leave $8,476,921 remaining in the district’s rainy day fund.
Dr. Schultz said the budget has been challenging with revenue continuing to lag behind the pace of expenditures. Without the tax increase, local revenue sources, which include property taxes and earned income taxes, were budgeted to increase 2.13 percent or $845,254. The district receives the bulk of its revenue through property taxes and the property tax line is only growing 1.59 percent from the previous year without the tax increase.
Other factors impacting the budget come on the expenditure side, where the district continues to see increases in state-mandated pension spending, tuition payments to charter schools, and medical costs. In pension spending, the district is allocating $10,395,717 next year, an increase of $219,055. Charter school tuition payments are projected to increase by $455,000 for next year, resulting in a $2.15 million line item (for reference, costs for charter schools in 2019-2020 were $1.48 million). Medical benefits will total more than $7 million next year (for reference, costs for medical benefits were $5.4 million in the 2019-2020 school year).
Lower Dauphin School District Tax Rates 2022-23
Real Estate Millage 18.97 mills Earned Income Tax 1 percent of earned income Occupation Tax $250 Per Capita Tax $5