LEHMAN TWP. — Lake-Lehman School Board voted 6-2, with one member absent, on Monday to approve the district’s 2013-14 budget that calls for a tax increase.
The proposed $27 million budget calls for a millage rate of 9.671 for taxpayers living in Luzerne County and a millage rate of 51.1882 for those living in Wyoming County. A mill is a $1 tax on each $1,000 of assessed property value.
The budget includes exceptions that permitted the district to raise taxes above what was initially allowed by the state under Act 1.
After the meeting, board member Bo Kreller said he voted against the tax hike because he is hearing that taxpayers are tired of tax increases every year.
“They’re tired of having to pay the highest rate allowed,” he said. “I believe there are other areas where we can be cutting.”
Karen Masters joined Kreller in voting against the proposed budget. “I feel the same. There are other concessions we can make.”
She said the economy is forcing residents to be taxed out of their homes.
All other board members, including Mark Kornoski, Richard Bombick, Kevin Carey, David Paulauskas, Andrew Salko and Walter Glogowski voted for the budget. James Welby was absent.
The board also unanimously approved a new bond issue. When a resident questioned the move, officials explained the bond issue had a two-fold purpose: to save taxpayer money by refinancing district debt at a lower rate and to improve energy efficiency at the district. Over the 15-year period of the loan, the energy efficiency project guarantees a net payback of $400 thousand including the debt service on the loan, district officials said.
In other matters:
· A group of high school sophomores questioned the elimination of the humanities class from the curriculum. Director of Curriculum Instruction and Assessment Tracey Halowich said that the humanities program no longer fit the needs of the younger high school students who would be taking Keystone tests based on government and American history rather than the course matter of the world history-based humanities course.
· The board recognized the retirement of Lake-Lehman Elementary School principal Marilyn Glogowski.
The next regular meeting will be on June 27 at 7 p.m. in the library of the Junior-Senior High School.