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Palisades increases taxes by 1.25 percent


Palisades School District taxpayers will see an increase of 1.25 percent for 2024-2025, with income from state gaming revenue limiting the annual actual average payment increase to $1.63 per household.

The tax increase was approved as part of the 2024-2025 final budget by unanimous vote of the school board directors at their June 19 public meeting. This year’s allowable tax increase for state school districts, without a public referendum, was 5.3 per cent.

Consequently, the millage rate increases from 117.740 to 119.212, with the average net tax bill at $3,839.19, after the gaming relief that is applied directly to it. The new millage rate of $11.921 on every $100 of assessed valuation is understood to be the lowest among county districts except for New Hope-Solebury, where the Earned Income Tax is 1.0 per cent. The E.I.T. for Palisades remains at 0.5 per cent as does the Real Estate Transfer Tax.

Balancing the budget featured not only adding income from the tax increase, but also just about as much from each of two special funds set up years ago and maintained by previous school boards and their staffs: the Planned Fund Balance-Retirement and the Planned Fund Balance-Capital Projects.

The former was created to meet increases projected for the state Public School Employees Retirement System (PSERS), and has been credited with a major role in the district being able to avoid tax increase spikes seen in many other school districts. The 1.25 percent for 2024-2025 follows the district’s no-tax-increase budget for 2023-2024, which was the fifth since 2011-2012. The 1.5 percent increase in 2022-2023 was the highest since 1.36 percent in 2011-2012.

This year’s budget development process, which starts annually in the fall, included the highly unusual move at the April 17 meeting, of sending the budget for the next school year back to committee that late in the annual process, creating concern for meeting state-mandated timelines without adding special meetings. As it turned out, the timelines were met without more meetings, and the budget remained essentially unchanged from April 29, except for the usual cost-cutting ritual, which continued all the way until June, when more actual spending needs, versus estimates, became available.

Also at the June 19 meeting, officials noted that the intent to have fewer public full-board business meetings for 2024-2025, in favor of adding full-board public work sessions, was a work in progress. The current meeting schedule for the full board, as well as for the various committee meetings, is available on the district website.

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