Elk Lake shows drop in taxes

BY PAT FARNELLI

Correspondent

Taxpayers in the Elk Lake School District will likely see their taxes drop slightly, according to the $18.1 million budget for 2010-11 approved Monday night.

The budget expenditures are essentially unchanged from the previous school year.

Superintendent William Bush said that the district intended to keep the tax rate and millage with a slight decrease.

For 2009-10, the millage rate was set at 48.15 for Wyoming County and 35.88 for Susquehanna County.

For 2010-11, the new millage rate would be 46.8 for Wyoming County and 35.83 for Susquehanna County.

A mill is roughly a $1 tax on every $1,000 of assessed property value and is set differently for each county as they follow different assessment ratios.

Bush said that although the state budget has not been passed and the revenue the district will receive from the state is still unknown, the district will still be able to have a decrease in taxes.

“Whatever the outcome, it is not going to change a longstanding philosophy in this school district,” he said.

It was announced that a check for some gaming revenues had been received and for those taxpayers who qualified for a Homestead exemption there would be a savings of roughly $160 and for those with a Farmstead exemption a savings of $320.

The board also accepted the audit report of auditor Paul Murphy Jr. which essentially gave the school district an economic clean bill of health.

He added that “The District’s real estate tax collection was really good in spite of the state of the economy.”

At the start of the meeting, Superintendent Bush noted that a check had been received from Cabot Gas and Oil for royalties totaling $246,688.41. This was the first royalty payment received by the Elk Lake School District for the two gas wells on the school district campus. He said the royalties received were mostly from the two wells on the school district property, with a smaller amount coming from a Hunsinger well, which includes in its unit some of the school district’s campus acreage.

Bush reported that most of the royalty money came from the horizontal well at Elk Lake School, and that the check included four months of royalty payments on the school’s two wells, as well as two months from the Hunsinger well site.