Salisbury school keeps no-tax-increase streak alive

May 10, 2019

The Salisbury-Elk Lick school board keeps taxes steady for the 19th consecutive year in the school district’s 2019-20 budget.

Board members approved a tentative $7,650,495 budget Wednesday, holding the property tax rate steady at 23.11 mills. The tax rate has not changed since 2000.

School officials said the biggest increases in the budget are for salaries and health care benefits.

“Health insurance is always a concern,” Superintendent Joseph Renzi said.

Business manager Brenda Krause said there’s a $38,000 deficit in next year’s budget, which officials will pay off using the district’s fund balance.

The district has added $350,000 for capital improvements. Krause said the district always tries to keep money in its capital improvement fund for “as-needed” projects.

“We just replaced the HVAC in both buildings a few years ago, (and) we didn’t have to borrow money for that because of our capital improvement funds,” she said.

Renzi said the district is planning a $150,000 project to change both school buildings to LED lighting.

“That’s the big project we are going to do this summer,” he said.

The addition to capital improvements does not include a $350,000 grant from the School Safety and Security Grant Program, which is part of the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency.

Officials said they plan to use the grant money for a walkway enclosure to connect the elementary and high school buildings.

Krause said 1 mill brings in $35,000 for the school district. With this year’s Act 1 index, Krause said the school would only have been able to raise taxes by 0.7 mill.

Act 1 is a state law designed to protect property owners from large tax increases. It limits the amount school districts can raise taxes in any one year without state or voter approval.

Renzi said school officials feel fortunate they are not in a position where they might need to consider a tax increase.

“That time may come down the road, but right now I feel fortunate to be in the position that we are in,” he said.