In Camp Hill, property taxes may go up.
The district’s roughly $19.8 million proposed budget for the 2014-15 school year, which was reviewed by the school board on Monday, is about 10 percent greater than this year’s budget and contains a gap between revenue and expenses.
On the expense side of the balance sheet, anticipated larger ticket increases next year include about a $240,000 net increase in Pennsylvania State Employees’ Retirement System costs, a roughly $395,000 increase in salaries and related taxes for existing staff, some of which are contractual obligations, and, after a number of years of relative stability in costs, a $500,000 increase in health care expenses.
The proposed budget, which is still being reviewed by the board and might change before final budget adoption, also includes about a $1.16 million shortfall in revenue.
The increase could be over the 2.5% limit due to a special exception; Pennlive says 4.5%.
No one is going to be happy about this, but residents of Camp Hill can somewhat blame themselves. Instead of new housing, construction, and property tax revenue as neighboring Lemoyne may do with their old school property, the Schaefffer School in Camp Hill, prompted by NIMBYs, will be torn down.
With two members absent, the Camp Hill School Board on Monday voted 6-1 to approve an agreement with SSM Group Inc. for demolition management and planning services for Schaeffer in the amount of $27,100, with up to an additional $6,500 for the hazardous material abatement phase of the project.
School Board President Stephen Karl after the meeting said the actual demolition of the building has not been put out to bid, so the district doesn’t have a firm figure for demolition costs. The current estimate being used by the district is between $200,000 and $250,000.
Of course new housing would likely not get property tax revenues flowing to the district for this budget cycle. This one location would not have abated all of the increase either, but the move by neighbors and the board is reflective of a wider mentality in the borough that opposes new construction out of the fear that the neighborhood might change or property values might decrease.
This is all despite the fact that, Camp Hill is a walkable borough, on a transit corridor, with a strong school district which has almost not land left for new construction. The borough could become even more sustainable if parts of itself were allowed to be upzoned. A district merger would help abate the taxes as well. They, smartly, have regional police, why not schooling?