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Hatboro-Horsham to Keep Tax Hike Below 1.7%

By staying under the state cap, Hatboro-Horsham School District won’t have to seek exceptions or go to referendum to approve its budget.

If the Hatboro-Horsham school board hikes the property tax rate in 2013-2014, it won’t be above the state-imposed cap.

The board voted unanimously Monday to approve a resolution informing the state it intends to keep any increases to 1.7 percent or below, the limit before exceptions or referendum come into play.

Although the board won’t see budget figures for the first time until next month, Robert A. Reichert, director of business affairs for the district, said he is confident of staying below the cap. The district has never sought exceptions or been forced into a referendum, he said.

“When the smoke clears, we’ll be under the index again,” said Reichert. “The board does not want to put any additional burdens on the taxpayer. Over the years we’ve developed proven methodologies for reducing costs while maintaining our educational and operational programs.”

Under the district’s or $50 a year for property owners in Hatboro and $75 a year for those in Horsham. The district’s property tax rate currently is 25.410 mills. Two years ago, property taxes went up 1.4 percent.

A mill is $1 in tax for every $1,000 of a property’s assessed value.

Like all school districts in Pennsylvania, Hatboro-Horsham is facing a huge spike in pension costs over the next few years. Health insurance, utilities, and special education costs will continue to drive the expense side of the budget, said Reichert.

The distrtict also expects to begin negotiaitons with the Hatboro-Horsham Education Association on a new teacher contract. the current deal expries on June 30.

“We’ll have to plan accordingly,” he said.

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