Twin Valley's School Board gets budget update

The April 15 meeting of the Twin Valley School Board was a brief by it’s own standards, lasting less than an hour, with the main topic presented being a re-examination of the district’s $54 million budget.

According to Michael Keeley, Business Administrator for the district, there will be a posting of a preliminary budget for public review at the May 20 meeting, and the final budget is scheduled to be passed at the June 17 meeting.

In offering a summary of recent changes, Keeley said that the ground that still needs to be made up between now and mid-June’s final budget stands at $1,016,783. This amount is a reduction from the last examination of the budget.

Keeley said that the “primary driver” in reducing the shortfall at this time is the Governor’s budget, which is estimated to provide $186,132 in additional dollars to the Twin Valley School District (Corbett’s budget has not yet been approved, so this amount is considered a proposed amount and is not guaranteed money).

He also presented information on an increase in expenditures of $178,000. It is an increase which Keeley said is “a bit deceiving” as $150,000 of that amount is a reserve on additional revenues which have come into the TVSD budget since February’s preliminary budget:

“We do have one taxpayer whose assessment has been increased by upwards of $150,000… …they have since appealed that tax increase. So while that increase is under appeal - although we are showing it as potential revenue to the district in (2013-14) - we’ve also reserved it, so when you look at that increase in expenditures of $178,000 the majority of that is for that reserve of that additional revenue.”

The budget update also accounted for a decrease in federal revenue, which Keeley said is “primarily the result of the expected decrease due to the sequestration which recently went into effect”.

In closing, Keeley spoke of how millage rates will fluctuate as the budget process plays out.

“The change in the assessments (causing) the change in revenues will also cause our millage rate to fluctuate between counties, and that’s just a result of the equalization process as we receive the updated market values.”

During an April 18 conversation with the Tri County Record, Keeley explained that all of the budgets which are presented to the public, preliminary and final, will contain revised millage rates for each of the counties in the district because of the aforementioned fluctuation in market values. The market values that exist when the final budget is passed in mid-June will determine what millage rates will be locked in to the budget.

Later in the evening, the board voted to approve a plan of action related to repairing the roof of the Honey Brook Elementary Center. The asphalt shingle system of roof, which was installed in 1994, has failed prematurely causing the roof to leak. The district put forth a warranty claim for the roof, which was accepted by the mortgage company, and the claim will provide $19,312 and 407 shingles (enough shingles to cover the full roof) to the district.

The district will use the shingles and cash from the warranty claim to begin repairing the entire roof starting in the summer of 2013. Replacing the roof will be a five year process with total estimated cost of $80,000. The cost breakdown is that $61,000 will come from district funds, for labor and additional material costs (the warranty does not cover all costs involved), and the remaining balance will come from the money received from the warranty claim. The replacement of the roof is to be an ongoing process in order to spread the cost out across multiple years.

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