School board approves final budget

The 2011-12 St. Marys Area School District budget was unanimously approved on Monday evening by members of the school board. The budget shows total expenditures of $23,914,421 and includes a .57-mill property tax increase to area residents. The tax increase will result in a $14 increase to residents who own a $50,000 home, with their total property taxes estimated at $804 for the year. Total millage for the district next year will be 32.35 mills for real estate tax.Additional tax levies for next year include: 63.6 mills on assessed value of oil, gas and minerals; 1,450 mills on occupational assessment, a $10 local service tax to be shared with Fox, Jay and Benezette townships; a $5 local services tax from the City of St. Marys; and a one percent earned income tax to be shared with all municipalities, as well as two additional $5 per capita taxes for residents of all municipalities under two different sections. Real estate tax bills will be printed by the county and sent out July 1 or as soon as possible. Tax bills for occupational assessment will be printed by the St. Marys Tax Service and sent out July 1 or as soon as possible.In attendance at the meeting as a visitor was Charles "Bud" Bloam, St. Marys tax collector, who asked for the school board's support in maintaining the local tax collector's position. He explained that state Senate Resolution 250 directs the Pennsylvania Legislature to conduct a study of current property tax collection systems in the state to determine the impact of the consolidation of such systems, specifically referring to costs and benefits associated with a consolidation. "I am looking for the support of the school board to keep the position local and elected," Bloam said. "Most people like it the way it is."He added that the state is doing away with earned income tax (EIT) collectors and the process is not going well from what he has heard. "I feel the earned income tax study was rammed down everyone's throat," Bloam said. Since then, Centax is now the earned income tax collector agency for the school district.