Mifflinburg taxes raised to Act I limit

Bob Mulrooney, Mifflinburg Area School District director, voted against the 2019-20 district spending plan before the board Tuesday night.

MIFFLINBURG — A tax increase was part of the $32,757,398 budget approved 6-1 Tuesday night by Mifflinburg Area School District directors.

The increase was 3%, the maximum under an Act 1 resolution adopted by the board earlier this year. It raised the millage rate to 12.88 mills, noted Tom Caruso, business administrator. The increase of 0.38 mills will add $38 to the tax bill of a $100,000 property.

Region 3 Director Bob Mulrooney commended Caruso for his work on the budget, but cast the dissenting vote. The tax increase and its impact on property owners in the western part of the district influenced his decision.

“A $45 average tax increase is a little too much,” he said. “For instance, my parents own their own home, (ages) 96 and 95. It is time to put an end to this.”

Caruso said PSERS retirement system costs were among the budget challenges. About $800,000 of a district fund balance was used to balance the budget for adoption. It will be effective Monday, July 1.

Caruso separately asked the board to commit $1 million of the unassigned general fund to committed capital projects in anticipation of an upcoming project. That project, he said, could approach $20 million and also require borrowing depending on the scope of the work. The transfer passed without a dissenting vote. The fund balance was projected to be $8,021,974 for the end of the current fiscal year.

A major project discussed at a previous meeting included an overhaul of the Middle School HVAC system, which was described as including a major infrastructure overhaul. The district partnered with an energy services company earlier this year to pursue an energy audit.

Directors approved a five-year contract for Superintendent Dan Lichtel, with legal revisions and effective Monday, July 1. The annual salary was announced as $137,180.

Directors Jill Shambach and Francis Gillott were absent from the Tuesday night board meeting.

Staff Writer Matt Farrand can be reached at 570-742-9671 and via email at matt@standard-journal.com.

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