Friday, June 12, 2020

Spring-Ford's $172M Budget Raises Taxes 2.58%

Blogger's Note:
The following was provided by the Spring-Ford School District.

The Spring-Ford School Board voted Monday to adopt a final budget of $172,070,735 for the 2020-2021 school year. 

The proposed budget includes a 2.58 percent tax increase, which equates to an increase of .7092 mills, resulting in a millage rate of 28.1869. This equates to a $70.92 increase per $100,000 assessment.

Over the last few months, the finance committee focused on the 2020-2021 budget by evaluating potential expense increases and revenue losses due to the COVID-19 crisis. 

During these meetings, the committee, as well as the full school board and administration, reviewed possible reductions that could be made to the 2020-2021 budget to reduce the overall tax increase. The goal of these meetings was to identify possible reductions, consider scenarios, and understand how those reductions would impact the 2020-2021 budget as well as the 2021-2022 school year budget. 

In addition, CEO Jim Fink gave budget presentations at the April 20, 2020 work session meeting and at the April 27, 2020 school board meeting. Through these regular public meetings and extensive work from the business office, the initial tax hike for the 2020-2021 budget was reduced from 4.38 percent to the final 2.58 percent.

(You can watch the entire special meeting video by clicking here.)

New in 2020-2021:
  • The Board voted to pass Resolution 2020-24 for the modification of real estate tax payment deadlines and the number of installment payments for the 2020-2021 tax year. The following adjustments have been made for the 2020-2021 tax year only:
  • Discount Period: as always, taxpayers who pay early will receive a 2 percent discount. The discount period will end on Aug. 31.
  • Flat Tax Period: the flat tax period (meaning no discount or late penalty) for the payment of real estate taxes is modified from two months to three months. The flat tax period will now end on Nov. 30 (moved back from Oct. 31).
  • Penalty Tax Period: the penalty tax period for the payment of real estate taxes is modified from two months to one month. The penalty tax period will now begin on Dec. 1, (moved from Nov. 1).
  • Installment Payments: the number of installment payments for real estate taxes is increased from three installments to four installments. The 2020-2021 installment payment due dates are Aug. 31, Sept. 30, Oct. 31, and Nov. 30.
The board also voted to pass Resolution 2020-25 for the provision of property tax and rent rebates to
certain senior citizens, widows, widowers and disabled persons with fixed and limited incomes; establishing uniform standards and qualifications for eligibility to receive a rebate; and providing penalties for fraudulent claims.

The Property Tax and Rent Rebate Program benefits eligible Pennsylvanians age 65 and older; widows and widowers age 50 and older; and people with disabilities age 18 and older. 

The income limit is $35,000 a year for homeowners and $15,000 annually for renters, and half of Social Security income is excluded. Spouses, personal representatives or estates may also file rebate claims on behalf of claimants who lived at least one day in 2018 and meet all other eligibility criteria.

Once a claimant makes the school tax payment, they may apply for the Property Tax and Rent Rebate through the state. After approved by the state, the claimant should submit the required forms to the Spring-Ford Business Office to receive the appropriate rebate, up to $195.

Example: a claimant files for a Property Tax and Rent Rebate with the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue by filing Form PA-1000 2019 (Property Tax or Rent Rebate Claim) in connection with property taxes paid in 2019. On July 15, 2020, the claimant receives a Property Tax and Rent Rebate from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in connection with such filing. The claimant may now file for a Property Tax and Rent Rebate with the school district by submitting a claim form to the school district, with a copy of the Form PA-1000 2019 Property Tax or Rent Rebate Claim, filed with the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue and evidence of the rebate amount received on or before June 30, 2021.

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