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Freeport faces budget deficit

School district proposes 3.5% tax increase in Buffalo Township
Freeport DME

As Freeport Area School District faces a budget deficit of $880,340, the cross-county district looks to raise taxes in Buffalo Township by 3.5%, according to Bradley Walker, director of finance and operations.

The preliminary budget for 2024-25 includes expenditures of $38,430,880 and revenue of $37,550,540. Walker said rising health care costs, contractual salary increases and the rising costs of utilities, transportation, supplies and out-of-district placements as contributing factors of the deficit. Health insurance premiums are projected to increase by 15.11%.

The biggest expenses continue to be staff salaries and benefits, he said.

If the proposed budget is finalized as presented, the average property owner living in the Butler County municipality would pay $125 more per year, Walker stated, raising the millage rate from 170.30 to 175.92.

For the average property owner in Armstrong County, taxes would decrease by 10.95%, or $256 annually, according to Walker, dropping the millage from 69.02 mills to 61.46.

Last year, Buffalo Township residents saw taxes raised by 5.55 mills from a previous 164.75 mills to 170.30 mills for the 2023-24 school year. District residents in Armstrong County also saw taxes raise the millage from 67.01 to 69.02, according to a published report.

Walker said taxes are calculated based on the State Tax Equalization Board’s process. According to its website, the independent board, which operates under the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, determines the “aggregate market value of taxable real property in each political subdivision and school district throughout Pennsylvania.”

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