HAYFIELD TOWNSHIP — It's looking like a tax increase for PENNCREST School District.

The 2019-20 final budget remains unchanged from the previous version, which includes a millage increase.

Business Manager Bryan Hobson recommended the same increase at Monday's work session that will generate $130,000 for the district. The final budget includes a half-mill increase for district residents in Crawford County and 0.05 mills for district residents in Plum Township, Venango County.

One mill equals $1 for every $1,000 in a property’s assessed value. The district’s current millage rate is 51.75 mills in Crawford County and 18.73 in Plum Township.

Currently, taxes on a property with a median assessed value of $25,350 in Crawford County are $1,311.86. The median assessed value of property in Venango County is $74,790, resulting in a property tax bill of $1,400.82. If approved, Crawford residents will see their bills rise $12.68, and Plum Township residents will pay $3.74 more.

Overall, the $53 million budget reduced the operating deficit to $29,326, partially thanks to a one-time shot of revenue from the district joining in the Northwest Region Employee Benefit Trust (NOREBT).

NOREBT is a health insurance trust for school districts within the Northwest Tri-County Intermediate Unit 5. By joining the trust, PENNCREST would no longer be paying insurance claims directly to Highmark, which they currently do.

Therefore, a pool of money the district had saved in the case of emergency or "shock" insurance claims would go back into the general revenue. The "mini pool" to absorb potential shock claims would provide $900,000 toward the 2019-20 school year.

Last month's vote was split 7-2 in favor of the proposed budget, with board members Luigi DeFrancesco and Robert Johnston voting no. The vote on the final budget will take place at the board meeting 7 p.m. Thursday at the PENNCREST administration board room.

Tyler Dague can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at tdague@meadvilletribune.com.

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