LM board 'confident' no tax hike needed
MANDATA - Line Mountain Superintendent Dave Campbell urged the school board Tuesday night to not increase property taxes for the 2013-14 school year.
His no-millage endorsement came in the wake of an announcement from Philadelphia-based Public Financial Management (PFM) that the interest rate for the district's $13.1 million project for additions and climate control are at what PFM's Jamie Doyle called "near record lows."
The current plan is to have the elementary schools in Leck Kill and Dalmatia close at the end of the school year. All students in grades kindergarten through fourth will attend classes at Trevorton, where an addition will be constructed this spring and summer. An addition will also be built to the seventh- and eighth-grade wing at the junior/senior high school in Mandata to accommodate the fifth and sixth graders.
The board approved a 2.9 percent interest rate with a $28,000 insurance premium from AGM Insurance to fund the project, which would require 4.53 mills be added to the budget over the next two years, Doyle said.
However, she said, the board has already dedicated 2.14 mills in the past to the project, leaving 2.39 mills needed to fully cover the borrowed money.
Business Manager Phil Rapant reported the $17,284,959 proposed budget, which was approved unanimously Tuesday night, still had a $151,071 hole to fill.
With the interest rate approved, the hole dropped to $101,071, Campbell said.
"We feel we're pretty safe with that. In past practices and experiences, we are confident we won't need to increase taxes," he said, noting there would be additional savings if the new climate control system is converted to geothermal as planned.
Campbell said Doyle, who is a graduate of Line Mountain, was being modest and said she and her colleagues deserved a lot of the credit for the positive numbers.
"We appreciate you. It's good to have someone care about Line Mountain," he said.
The motion to accept the interest rate was made and seconded by Directors Lawrence Neidig and Dennis Erdman. It passed 7-2 with Directors Lamont Masser and Marlin Yeager Jr. voting against it.
The board also rejected previous bids in relation to the high school HVAC system and directed Crabtree, Rohrbaugh and Associates to issue notices of intent to award and execute contracts to The Robert Feaster Corporation for general construction in the amount of $1,335,300; Silvertip Inc. for plumbing construction in the amount of $49,600; Frey Lutz Corporation for HVAC construction in the amount of $4,320,100; and Noto Electrical Construction for electrical construction in the amount of $425,000.
The motion to approve the contract was made and seconded by Directors David Scott Bartholomew and Daniel Zablosky. It passed 7-2 with Directors Masser and Yeager voting against it.
Both Masser and Yeager said they voted against the interest rate and the HVAC project because they are not confident it's the right time to borrow a large amount of money.
"The backup is raising taxes. I don't want to do that," Yeager said.
In other business
The board approved:
- The 2013-14 contract with Nutrition Inc. to provide food service management at a cost of $22,944 and a guaranteed return rate of $11,327.10.
- The payment of $62,483 to Crabtree, Rohrbaugh and Associates for services rendered in relation to the building project.