Crestwood OKs proposed the final budget with a 2.4% property tax increase

WRIGHT TWP. – The Crestwood School Board on Thursday night approved a final budget proposal with a 2.4% increase in property taxes, below the maximum allowed by state law without voter approval or a special exemption from the state.

The original vote was to raise taxes to a maximum of 4.2%, but that was defeated. A motion was then moved to pass the budget without a tax increase, but that motion died for lack of a second. A third motion was made with the 2.4% increase, and this passed with Board Chairman Barry Boone voting no.

This does not mean that the tax increase will occur or that it cannot be increased. The state requires school boards to adopt a final draft budget by the end of May and to adopt a final budget by the end of June. The board can change the numbers as new information comes in.

Chief Commercial Officer Natasha Milazzo said if the 2.4% increase were maintained, revenues would be lower than proposed expenses by about $592,081 in 2022-23. This shortfall would be covered by reducing a projected fund balance of approximately $1.32 million to approximately $729,994 by the end of June 2023.

The proposed budget sets expenditures at $46.4 million. The current property tax rate is 11.7494 thousandths. A mill is a tax of $1 for every $1,000 of assessed property taxes. Council could reduce or eliminate the tax increase before approving a final budget, which is due by the end of June.

The board also:

• Approved an agreement with Fairview Township Police Officer Dennis Monk and Wright Township Police Officer Scott Rozitski for the DARE program in the district at a cost of $7,354, including salaries and supplies for two agents teaching fifth-grade students in two elementary schools. Short for Drug Abuse Resistance Education, DARE bills itself as “the world’s most comprehensive drug abuse prevention program.”

• Set dates for collection of property tax bills 2022-23, with August 1 as issue date, 2% rebate period from August 1 to September 30, face value period from October 1 to December 31, and no penalty period. The council also set dates for paying the tax in three installments with one-third of the face value due on September 1, October 17 and December 16.

• Approved an agreement with Lee Anthony as speech therapist at $45 per hour.

• Appointment of Kathleen Rickrode as a secondary campus physics teacher at a salary of $58,143.

• Appointed Mary Pascucci as full-time Accounts Payable Secretary at $17.65 per hour after a 60-day probationary period at 10% less than that.

• Accepted the resignation of goaltender Deanna Burrows.

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