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TOWANDA – The Towanda Area School District is looking at not exceeding a 4.1% increase in property taxes as it moves forward with the creation of its 2021-2022 spending proposal.

During Monday’s work session meeting, the school board took a first look at a resolution to not exceed its Act 1 Index, which is the maximum tax increase allowable based on a school district’s market value to personal income aid radio as implemented under the Taxpayer Relief Act in 2006. Districts are able to exceed the Act 1 Index through public vote or certain Pennsylvania Department of Education-approved exceptions that apply to construction debt, special education spending, and retirement contributions, according to the department.

The Taxpayer Relief Act also put in place the homestead and farmstead tax exclusions, which utilize gaming revenue for property tax relief. However, with the impact of COVID-19 on the state’s casinos, Towanda Business Manager Doreen Secor said they are watching very closely to see what happens with those programs.

“Now there’s talk about if we’re going to have that money. In Towanda, ours is usually around $300. That would be awful if all of a sudden you didn’t realize you had that deduction in there and it was taken away,” Secor said, noting that it can be easy for long-time homeowners to forget if they initially enrolled in the program as the years go by.

“Let’s hope that doesn’t happen,” she added. “But I like to just bring that up so people can be thinking about it in the back of their mind.”

Secor reminded homeowners who haven’t signed up for the homestead or farmstead exclusions that they can still contact the district’s business office for information about how to apply. Applications are due to the assessment office by March 1.

The district plans to put the proposed final budget before the public in May, with final action on the spending plan during the school board’s last meeting in June.

The resolution to not exceed the 4.1% Act 1 Index will be voted on next week.

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