AASD receives approval to tax above state index

The Altoona Area School board announced Wed­nesday that it has received approval from the state to tax above the state’s annual index for school district property tax increases without going to a voter referendum.

The district applied for referendum exceptions in January based on its rising special education and retirement costs, two criteria the state allows for exceeding the state limit on millage increases.

With approval granted for these two exceptions, the board could increase millage to generate an additional $1.4 million, according to a board presentation Wednesday.

The millage rate paid by property owners after reassessment and referendum exception approval would increase from 5.1 mills to 5.5 mills.

If the board chooses in June to enact the maximum tax increase, it would be an increase of less than $55 per year on the tax bill for three quarters of property owners in the district, those with average assessed value of $115,000, according to a district administrative report.

And the added millage for 50 percent of property owners in the district, with an assessed value of $75,300, would be an increase of about $36 in taxes,

according to the administration.

The revenue generated from the tax increase would make up for the depletion of a debt service fund, which is needed to make debt service payments of $3.2 million through June 30, 2022, Superintendent Charles Prijatelj said.

That debt is from the junior high school, he said.

Mirror Staff Writer Russ O’Reilly is at 946-7435.