Categories Op/Ed

Letter to the Editor: Nothing Sure But Death, Taxes

Once again the sands of time have flowed through the hour glass bringing another Elizabethtown Area School District year to an end. The end of the year I am talking about is not the graduation ceremony that will be held at LCBC at 7 p.m. on June 5, 2018. When seniors receive their diplomas and other grade levels are promoted. The end of the year I am referring to is the fiscal year relating to taxation, public revenues, and public debt that ends on June 30, 2018 at midnight. We have all heard the idiom “time is money.”

As we come to the end of the school year the top half of the hour glass is almost empty. Obviously I don’t mean the district is empty as in broke. I can promise you with almost 100 percent certainty that the EASD will finish in the black with revenues being transferred into the new fiscal year. Think of it this way “the public coffers are running dry and they need to be replenished by someone.” That someone is us if you are a property owner in the EASD as I am.

This past year, approximately $60.9 million have flowed through the hour glass to fund public education. To quote Geoffrey Chaucer: “Time and tide wait for no man,” which means the coming fiscal year isn’t going to wait on the school board to take care of its business. The last two school board meetings on June 12 and June 26 bring to a conclusion the 201718 fiscal year. I hope there will be standing room only forthese two remaining community meetings that will close out this fiscal year.

“Time is of the essence” is a term used in contact law in the United States expressing “the need for timely completion.” The school board and administrators would appreciate your support and prayers during this decisive time. Please appreciate that it is no small undertaking to educate approximately 3,852 students. It is crunch time for the EASD, the interval of time immediately before a legal deadline must be met, in this case June 30, 2018. The directors must review the 201819 proposed budget then vote on the final adoption of the 2018-19 final budget.

To use another idiom “the directors and administration are ahead of the curve” as the midnight hour approaches. I wish I could say the same thing for the state legislators and the governor of Pennsylvania. They have been behind the curve in producing a state budget in recent years. It is time to turn the hourglass upside down and start the flow of time and money all over again. So tax bills can be prepared and sent out in the fall to property owners “to pony up.” To pay (money) especially in settlement of an account.

Yes, we have a tax account at the school district headquarters that will have to be paid in a timely manner. There is a discount for paying early and a penalty for a late payment. Tax avoidance would probably not be a good choice. I am quite sure Mr. Longridge, the business manager of the EASD, “will track you down” which is another useful idiom used for locating someone. “When tax time is looming, Benjamin Franklin’s “Nothing is certain except death and taxes” is one of Ben’s most enduring and famous quotations.

I purposely left the calculation terms for the end so that you would read this letter to the editor at least to this point. No need to be demoralized by terms like millage (a rate (as of taxation) expressed in mills per dollar), reassessment (to assess (something) again), and revenue neutral (The term implies changes to a property’s value because of reassessment with a reduced millage that results in no change in the amount of revenue coming into the government’s coffers). This term is a doozy but fortunately it only happens every six to eight years. This year’s revenue neutral millage rate is 16.0914 for the EASD. Bring a calculator to the meetings and I am sure someone there will be able to help you determine your fall property school tax liability for the 2018-19 school year. Please take to heart my six-word story. “Don’t be demoralized by school taxation.”

But if you are demoralized, write a letter to the editor of The Elizabethtown Advocate at P.O. Box 547, Elizabethtown, PA 17022 or to editor@etownpa.com or contact the EASD at 717-367-1521.

ROBERT YAHARA

Elizabethtown

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