Norwin to cap tax hike at 3.4%

in Norwin News/School News

Source: Trib Live

Property owners in the Norwin School District will not see their school taxes increase more than 3.4% — the maximum allowed without state or voter approval.

The Norwin School Board unanimously voted at its meeting this week to limit any tax hike to the state maximum, which is about 2.8 mills in the Westmoreland County communities it serves. The school board does not have to approve a budget for next fiscal year until June 30.

“Everybody’s goal here is to keep it (tax hike) as low as possible,” while maintaining a safe environment and quality education, said board President Brian Carlton.

Ryan Kirsch, business affairs director, said he expects to present a review of the 2020-21 budget at the board meeting in April.

Norwin has raised real estate taxes to the state-permitted limit each of the last four years.

The state’s school districts have until Jan. 9 to either adopt a resolution certifying the the school board will not adopt a budget that exceeds the Act I index, or they must present a proposed preliminary budget.

Norwin last raised real estate taxes by 2.4 mills, or 3%, to 82.4 mills, to fund its current budget of $73.6 million. That tax hike was the maximum permitted under state Act 1, without seeking approval from the state education department or a referendum approved by the voters. One mill of property tax generates about $400,000 for the school district.

The annual millage levy includes 1.2 mills that the school district collects for the Norwin Public Library. The referendum approving the tax allocation was approved by school district voters in 2000.

Eighteen property owners in White Oak and South Versailles who live within the Norwin school boundaries saw their school taxes rise by 0.36 mills. The tax levy differs because of variations in assessment rates between Westmoreland and Allegheny counties.

Norwin raised taxes in the 2018-19 school year by 2.4 mills to 80 mills for its Westmoreland residents. Homeowners with property assessed at the median value of $22,010 paid an additional $53 a year.

In the 2017-18 school year, the district raised taxes 3.3%, also 2.4 mills.