Friday, June 30, 2006

$9.4 million

The 3-mill tax increase trend continues. Wednesday evening, the Avella Area School District Board of Education became the latest in the 46th District to raise taxes by three mills. Caroline Shannon reports in today's O-R:

The millage increase means the tax rate will be 107 mills for residents of Independence, Cross Creek and Hopewell townships and West Middletown Borough. At that rate, the owner of a $100,000 home with an assessed value of $25,000 would pay $2,675 in taxes next year, an increase of $75.

Superintendent Wayde Killmeyer said the tax increase is the result of an increase in the basic costs of operating the school, in addition to the fact that about three years ago the district borrowed $2 million for a building project. "That money has to be paid back rather soon," Killmeyer said Thursday.

The board passed the budget 6-1 with board member Michael Muhr voting against it.

I attended the meeting on Wednesday evening, which had a sizable group of local residents in the audience. Many were school bus drivers there to find out more information about the new company, G.G. & Bus Co., that the school district will now use to provide student transportation. G.G. & C. is also located in the 46th -- on Jefferson Avenue in Canton Township.

Joining me at the board meeting was Andy Walz, who recently began working with our campaign. Andy graduated last month from St. Vincent College with a degree in political science. He's a 2002 graduate of Trinity High School and lived for many of his formative years in the Ellwood Park neighborhood of Canton Township. During his high school years, Andy was active in the youth group at Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal Church in Meadowlands. Last summer, Andy interned with the Office of National Drug Control Policy in Washington, D.C. Welcome to the campaign, Andy! Thank you for your work!

Prior to the school board meeting, Andy and I also sat in on a fiery meeting of the Independence Township supervisors in the village of Avella. Look for a post soon by Andy on that meeting.

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