Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Columbia School Board to consider 2.9% tax hike


The draft agenda for this Thursday's Columbia Borough School Board Committee of the Whole meeting includes the following item for consideration:

"The final budget includes a proposed tax increase in the total amount of .8508 mills or 2.90%, which is within Columbia Borough School District's approved index of 3.7%, and use of $800,000 ($250,000 is in Budgetary Reserve) of Fund Balance. The real estate tax rate for 2017-18 will be 30.1908 mills."

With the increase, the annual tax liability for an assessment of $100,000 will be $3,019.08. (The increase of .8508 mills translates to $85.08 a year for a $100,000 assessment.) At the current 29.34 mills, Columbia already has the highest school tax of any district  in the county. The proposed increase will further cement that position.

With the increase, the TOTAL millage for Columbia Borough (county millage + municipal millage + school millage) will be 41.9258.  The total annual tax liability for an assessment of $100,000 will be $4,192.58.

Current millage rates for Lancaster County are shown below.




33 comments:

  1. It's time to go.

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  2. No, there has to be a mistake. We were told we'd be saving money through the shared services agreement with ELANCO.

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  3. How about a 10% reduction in pay for administration. Pay your own retirement.

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  4. Guess we're losing our home. We cannot afford this. Pretty soon Columbia will be a ghost town with empty homes.

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  5. We must merge NOW. Praying SB76 bill passes soon.

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  6. WoW! Patting on back while he%ing the reach around! Way to go CSB! Way to stick it to the taxpayers! Also nice job Columbia Borough for working with them to keep the school tax down. Your talk with at their meetings really helped. Can't be soon enough to have the school tax eliminated but it will be to late. Most will be gone by then... You bunch of leeches!

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  7. Time for this district to merge NOW! You cannot keep taking from the taxpayers! Enough is enough already. Taxes in this district keep going up but our paychecks are not! And you wonder why this town has a reputation....because even middle class people can't afford to live here anymore! Find the money elsewhere!

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  8. Some residents of Columbia have a "like it or leave it" attitude when it come to decisions made by elected officials. It's not that easy anymore.

    What young couple will sign up to purchase a home here with taxes that will double their mortgage payment?

    It's going to get tougher to unload properties here. In fact we are prisoners of Columbia. Pay the highest taxes around and like it. No way out unless the borough wants to help us like they helped the Biglers.

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  9. The residents of Columbia are either wealthy or apathetic, otherwise they'd be up in arms over this latest proposed tax increase.

    They must enjoy giving the borough and school district money to blow, otherwise they'd show up at meetings.

    We need a government and school shut down right here, right now in this borough.

    When will enough really be enough?

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  10. Sure did a great job saving us money first person that must go is Stickler you are killing the people of this town with the taxes how can you sleep at night time to merge now for the good of the town

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    1. He sleeps at night because he can easily pay the taxes with a $100k/year salaried job WE pay him for!!!!

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  11. So many empty properties in Columbia now. Now Columbia citizens gotta pay for the screw ups of elected officials.

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  12. An increase of .8508 mils translates to $.8508/$1000 assessed value, NOT $85.08/$1000. A property assessed at $100,000 will see an increase of $85.00/year

    Needless to say, over $333/month school tax, for homes under $100,000 is utterly ridiculous.

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    1. We've edited the article to reflect your correction.

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  13. I hope all school board members are home owners and not renters. That way they feel the burn. Budget unexceptable. Start over.

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    1. At least one renter on the board.

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  14. A new committee is forming: The CCC: Concentration Camp Columbia. Concentrate on how you are going to pay the taxes.

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  15. The process of losing a home (due to taxes) is a long one, upwards of three years. You could plan on living here in Columbia for about a year or two without paying taxes before the process is complete. Or don't pay and then at the last minute come up with a partial payment or work out a payment plan.

    Maybe we all need to slow down on rushing in to make that deadline for early payment discount. Make them wait.

    A tax boycott of sorts would make the news and draw more attention to this situation.

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  16. Totally agree with a tax boycott. The district would have to shut down.

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  17. With these taxes, Columbia will be the next Centralia like town in PA.,Will buy everyone out, only because no one can afford the taxes, not because of underground fire.

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  18. In all seriousness, we really shouldn't blame the board or the admin; they are doing the best they can with what they have, which isn't a lot. Go to a board meeting, you'll see. Look around, look in LNP, this isn't a Columbia problem; taxes are going up in most districts. The big cost drivers anymore are pensions and healthcare. Those are costs that are largely beyond local decision making. On the other hand, if you think our board isn't doing what they can to control costs, you are mistaken. In almost any sector, labor is your biggest overhead. We have the lowest paid teachers AND administrators around. Otherwise, we have perhaps the most no-frills education in south central PA and likely beyond.

    There are a lot of reasons why Columbia has the tax problems we see. There are a lot of economic development projects we can and should do that will help. But at the end of the day, even if we would see our school taxes stabilize, we will never in a million years have the resources to provide to our kids the kinds of resources that are available to children at other schools. Personally, I think some of the millions blown by our neighbors is nothing less than crazy, but that's a whole different issue- it still stands that they CAN offer these things.

    Merging is exponentially easier said than done, but it really may be our only option anymore. And looked at differently, the shared services agreement is at least a good first step, a conversation starter. I'd surprised if other districts don't follow suit. But again, lets focus on the real problem here: a school system that is broken, not a board or administration that is out to tax us into homelessness.


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    1. I do agree that the pension system for teachers is part of the problem. For many years the pension system was under funded and when the teachers that began their careers in the late 1970's started to retire,the school and state realized what happened.By then,it was too late. What do you do, raise taxes to cover.
      When you have a limited tax base like Columbia, your done. You can only bleed the people so long, and then there is no blood. We are at that point. The faster we merge the better. Or the state steps in. Either way, the damage may be done.

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    2. Columbia has WAY too many Superintendents, etc. This Boro is TOO small to have a Principle or Superintendent at EACH school. We can NOT afford it. Yes our children don't have any quality electives or extra curricular programs (except for sports) not ALL children are athletic! The State MUST step in NOW, make the district consolidate. Period. Yes, it will be a ghost town. School taxes INCREASE EVERY year. We taxpaying homeowners can NOT afford to keep carrying ALL these rental properties, with hundreds of kids in our schools who pay NOTHING for their education. We have WAY too many people on SSI disability..who have NEVER worked or contributed nothing who generation after generation repeat the pattern-collect food stamps, free medical insurance, monetary assistance for rent, etc. and NO I'm NOT saying everyone on disability is playing the system-that's the part that's broke so bad-there ARE truly individuals who DESERVE disability...Spend your money wisely.....EDUCATE these individuals, create a program to educate, assist individuals into becoming self sufficent, get their GED's, join the workforce, take pride in the fact that they contribute to society! I'd rather my tax dollars be spent on something like this...instead of getting into the real estate business! START HERE> REMOVE 500 RENTAL PROPERTIES. Turn them back into single family owned homes! COuncillors-this MUST be the first step-gotta find a way to encourage landlords to sell to single families and write an ordinance or something to STOP ALL THESE PEOPLE THAT ARE PURCHASING THESE HOMES IN FORECLOSURES, TAX SALES, ETC AND TURNING THEM INTO RENTAL PROPERTIES. THERE HAS TO BE A WAY. WHAT DON'T YOU UNDERSTAND?????? MORE THAN 800 RENTAL PROPERTIES IN THIS LITTLE TOWN is way over the top, way out of control, way out of our future.

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  19. people you MUST attend the school board mtg!!!!! boycott the taxes!!!!! Time to consolidate. NOW.

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  20. All it does is ( tax increase ) make it all the more appetizing for the slum lords. "Buy em, rent em, forget em.

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  21. Down the tubes we go.
    Thank you.

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  22. I'm at the point they can just take my house I don't need to sell it I'll walk away and start over somewhere else. You are correct in the fact that half of our money on our mortgage payment goes to taxes alone how insane is that. We don't even have any children that go to school in this District. They are grown and they went to a private school. It would have got beaten on a daily basis if they want there. Just walk away and let the homes empty, that's what I say.

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    1. I just don't understand...how neither the Borough or School District can NOT see this! Consolidate the schools. NOW......Stop allowing more homes to be turned into rental properties!

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  23. Broke Columbia nativeJune 1, 2017 at 3:33 PM

    So with the new proposed tax increase, that will bring my total tax liability to $6,892.38 on my single family home per year!! That's $574 per month just in real estate taxes. Absolutely ridiculous!! Add to that, per capita tax, sales tax, gas tax, federal state and local income tax, social security tax, medicare tax, tobacco and alcohol taxes if you indulge in those, then there is, car insurance, life insurance, medical insurance, dental insurance and homeowner insurance, 401K contributions(because most companies do not offer pensions nowadays) car registration and inspection fees, water, sewer , electric, phone, trash and heating bills, plus however many add on fees and out of pocket deductibles to all of those. Then if you are blessed with intelligent children who wish to persue a degree in higher education that almost requires an additional fulltime job just to afford that endeavor!! I'm sure I missed a few but that does not leave very much of my hard earned income at the end of the month for frivolous things like food and clothing and maybe a little entertainment now and then ! I wouldn't call that living the American Dream. Time to start marketing the old homestead !! Just so tired of being screwed and not having it end in that euphoric state so to speak. I would be curious to know # 1, how many total tax parcels are located in the boro of Columbia and of that total # 2, how many are tax exempt and of those that are tax exempt # 3, how much revenue in lieu of taxes are paid by those property owners and # 4, what is the assessed value of the tax exempt properties and # 5, who are the owners?? If anyone has this info and would like to share that would be interesting! Unfortunately I am too busy busting my ass working just to pay for all of the above to take the time to research it. Thank God that both of my trash cans have at least one good wheel ( missing the lid to the one) because I don't think I could fit a quick ticket into my budget at the moment!!!!!! Roll Tide Roll!!

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    1. WELL SAID. Agree 100%

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  24. http://www.columbiabsd.org/files/2016/06/Annual-Financial-Report-2015-16-1mirjo2.pdf
    Check out the info after page 40 of the document. Interesting stuff. This was published in 2015. There hasn't been anything else since then.

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    1. Sorry, wrong link. Here is the correct one. http://www.columbiabsd.org/files/2016/06/2015-06-30_CAFR-141upf0.pdf

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  25. You will not be able to pay your tax bill at the District Administration Center after this fall.

    It was announced that two banks have been selected to collect the payments. You will also be able to mail payments. It was explained that the workers at the DAC building have to "stop what they're doing" to take tax payments. How ridiculous is that? That's what they are there to do!

    It will cost about $2,500. But it was explained down to $1,500.

    I do not think this was on the agenda.

    So when you pay that hefty tax bill this fall, if you choose to take it to the DAC building, please know you are interrupting their real work...Do not look for welcome there.

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