State College

Budget with tax increase, rebate gets OK

There will be an increase in school taxes for residents in the State College Area School District.

But in a 6-2 vote, the board approved a tax rebate program at a meeting on Monday night for eligible residents, to help offset the cost.

The proposed final budget of $136,135,898 passed in a 7-1 vote and calls for a 5.49 percent increase in taxes. Jim Pawelczyk was the lone no vote.

And starting July 1, the supplemental property tax rebate program will be offered to residents.

According to a report from the district, the program will allocate $200,000 to eligible residents for the 2015-16 fiscal year.

Eligible recipients must be a homeowner in the district, and meet age requirements that include the claimant or spouse being 65 or older, the claimant is a widow or widower age 50 and older, or the claimant is 18 and older with a disability.

But board members Scott Fozard and Laurel Zydney both voted no due to the age restrictions.

“It puts us in a position (that) it divided the population by age when the goal is to give people relief,” Zydney said. “When I really weighed everything, that’s what it came down to.”

Fozard said he agreed with Zydney.

“I understand it’s an annual approval, but the reality of it is it will be very hard to change,” Fozard said.

Other criteria includes household income that does not exceed $35,000 per year, property that is registered for a homestead/farmstead exclusion in the district, and a claimant who has been awarded a rebate from the Pennsylvania Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program.

The maximum annual rebate per household will be $650, said district spokesman Chris Rosenblum.

Applicants should apply between July 1 and June 30, 2016.

Britney Milazzo can be reached at 231-4648. Follow her on Twitter @M11azzo.