Hamburg Area school directors voted, 7-1, to apply for tax exceptions which if approved by the state would allow taxes to be increased above the Act 1 index without a voter referendum on Jan. 27.
The tax index for the 2014-15 school year is 2.7 percent or .7 mills. The district can apply for exceptions because of retirement and special education costs.
The exceptions would allow taxes to be increased to 1.76 mills, according to Business Manager Michele Zimmerman.
“This gives us greater flexibilty,” Zimmerman said. “We will continue to work to the end of June to reduce the deficit and come up with a balanced budget.”
The current deficit is $898,000 with a .25 mill increase included.
For the past four or five years school directors have approved tax increases of .25 mills or 1 percent and have not used the tax exceptions, according to Zimmerman.
“We don’t plan on using it,” Superintendent Steven Keifer said. “It’s a relief valve if something out of the ordinary happens.”
School director Andrew Raugh opposed seeking the exceptions.
“I won’t vote for a tax increase above 1 percent or .25 mills,” Raugh said. “The district needs to be prudent.”
The board will vote on the preliminary budget on Feb. 10.
A .25 mill increase would bring the millage rate to 26.21 from 25.96. A property assessed at $100,000 would pay a tax bill of $2,621, an increase of $25.
The next meeting of school directors is Monday, Feb. 10 at 6:30 p.m. in the James A. Gilmartin Community Room.
School directors met in executive session before the meeting to discuss real estate and personnel. No details were available.
School director Natalie Snow was absent.