One of the statements from a school board member, at the February 11th meeting, was that we can’t look at millage because a mill in Octorara does not generate the same revenue as a mill in West Chester. They must think we are too slow-witted not to understand that many of the districts to our east are wealthier. However, we all must live within our means. We all want things for our families, and ourselves that we just cannot afford. We can’t just walk into our boss’s office and say, “My 2013 budget has increased. Starting Monday, you will give me a raise.”
While we all know that a mill in Octorara does not generate the same tax revenue as wealthier areas, a mill does take the same money from families trying to survive. Therefore, the higher the millage, the less income we have for our families.
How do we compare to other districts? Per $100,000 of assessed value, in the following districts you would pay…
Great Valley: $158.58 added to your mortgage a month, or $1903.00 per year.
West Chester: $155.58 added to your mortgage a month, or $1867.00 per year
Downingtown: $226.52 added to your mortgage a month, or $2718.20 per year
Coatesville: $250.91 added to your mortgage a month, or $3010.90 per year
Twin Valley: $202.5 added to your mortgage a month, or $2430 per year
Chester County residents pay $305.50 per month, ($3666.00 per year) in taxes to the Octorara Area School District, for every $100,000 of assessed value. It is a significantly higher amount than those in other school districts. The school board wants to talk about how much less a mill generate for them in taxes, but their rates take significantly more out of our wallets.
If the current projections of revenue, as stated in the last meeting hold, our taxes will change to 37.59 mills in Chester County, and 28.39 in Lancaster County. (The difference is because of way taxes are assessed in each county). For those living in Chester County, this translates into $313.25 per month for every $100,000 ($3759.00 per year).
Keep in mind, this is not your total property tax burden. You also have your local and county property taxes. A family living in the Borough of Parkesburg is currently paying $423.53 per month in total property taxes ($5082.30 per year). This in not just a homeowner’s problem. Renters, this affects what your landlord charges.
Worst of all, in many nearby communities, the total property tax is less than what we pay to the Octorara Area School District alone. It means a home within Octorara costs more than other places, even when the home has the same value. The school board would argue, even with the higher taxes, Octorara home values make it a bargain to live here. That may be true if your choices are between a $350,000 home in West Chester, Exton or Malvern or a $225,000 home in Parkesburg or Atglen. However, we are a largely rural, working-class community. Their thoughts on this subject do not represent the average homeowner or voter.