Allegheny County Receives Upgraded Credit Rating

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Allegheny County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Allegheny County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Allegheny County’s credit score has gotten another boost.

Financial rating agency Standard & Poor’s issued a news release Monday saying that it was upgrading the county’s long-term rating by one step, from an A+ to AA-.

The upgrade gives Allegheny County its highest rating in nearly 12 years, the county announced today in a news release.

“This is great news for Allegheny County and really reflects that we are heading in the right direction and making headway in improving our financial outlook,” County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said in a statement. “I am really proud of the job we have done in improving the fund balance, having an end-of-year cash balance, reducing reliance on one-time revenues for our budget and working cooperatively to address the issues that have impacted our bottom line.”

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/business/2014/01/28/Allegheny-County-receives-upgraded-credit-rating/stories/201401280148#ixzz2rjtZjmzr

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Slight Tax Hike Projected In 2014 Limerick Budget

Location of Limerick Township in Montgomery County

Location of Limerick Township in Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

LIMERICK TOWNSHIP, PA — In a close vote, the township supervisors voted at Tuesday night’s meeting to advertise a proposed budget with a small property tax increase.

The $23,734,327 budget carries a tax increase of 5.75 percent to close a funding gap of $157,720. An owner with a property assessed at the township’s average of $150,000 would see a $16 increase on their tax bill yearly.

As such, the town’s mill rate would stand at 2.004.

The dividing line on the 3-2 vote was whether to close the funding gap using reserves or with a tax increase.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20131119/slight-tax-hike-projected-in-2014-limerick-budget

Standard & Poor’s Increases Pittsburgh’s Credit Rating To A

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its nei...

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its neighborhoods labeled. For use primarily in the list of Pittsburgh neighborhoods. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The credit rating agency Standard & Poor’s has bumped up Pittsburgh’s credit rating three notches to A, a move that could save the city money on future borrowing by improving the city’s credit profile.

The agency cited a number of factors in moving the city’s credit rating up from BBB.  First, it said the city’s resilient economy and “deep and diverse economic base” which allowed the city to fare relatively well during the economic downturn.  It also cited the presence of two state-appointed oversight boards that have kept close tabs on the city’s budget since the state of Pennsylvania declared it financially distressed nearly a decade ago.

S&P analyst Andrew Teras also cited the city’s debt management, increase in reserves and ability to manage long-term liabilities, like pensions.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/business/news/standard-poors-increases-pittsburghs-credit-rating-to-a-693510/#ixzz2XX5qOifp

Allentown Schools Cut 151 Jobs, Hike Taxes 8.2 Percent

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lehigh County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lehigh County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Allentown School Board approved a final 2013-14 budget Thursday that spares full-day kindergarten and most elementary school related arts positions but cuts 151 jobs, sending a ripple effect throughout the district.

School directors voted 5-4 to adopt a spending plan that slashes 127 teachers, 14 administrators and 10 maintenance/custodial workers from the district’s payroll.  The cuts are accompanied by an 8.2 percent tax increase and a $10 million contribution from the district’s savings to keep the district afloat for another school year.

The only change to the $242 million budget was elimination of two vacant administrative positions — director of special projects and director of professional development.  That decision saves about $200,000.

Full-day kindergarten and elementary school music, art and gym teachers, originally in jeopardy of being cut, are retained in the final budget.  But the district will eliminate all five of its elementary librarians along with 19 middle-school related arts teachers.

Read more: http://www.mcall.com/news/breaking/mc-allentown-schools-final-budget-20130627,0,7917258.story#ixzz2XWm7azLQ
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Hesitant Exeter School Board Hikes Taxes In Tentative Budget

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States Public School Districts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Tough budgetary times call for tough decisions.

But in the Exeter School District, it looks as though school officials might put off some of those decisions for at least another year.

The school board voted 7-2 Tuesday to pass a $66.8 million tentative budget that would raise taxes 2.5 percent next year but forgo any major cuts to programs or staffing.

“We’ve been paring down as much as possible,” board member Joseph R. Staub said. “None of us want to take a tax increase, but unfortunately it is the system we have until they (the state) take the burden off of homeowners.”

Read more:   http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=477240

Daniel Boone Board Shuts School; Makes Little Budget Progress

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States Public School Districts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Daniel Boone School Board didn’t waste time in deciding Monday to shutter Amity Primary Center, but spent more than an hour discussing other budget-related moves with little progress.

Several residents expressed frustration about the slow-moving budget discussion, noting that the same cuts have been on the table since December.

“It just seems like we don’t make decisions,” resident Rich Martino said.  “We push it off meeting after meeting and now we’re up against a deadline and I don’t know if we’re going to make the right decision.”

The board will vote on a tentative $52.45 million budget next week.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=477022

Why The School District Of Lancaster Is Financially Thriving When Similar Districts In Pennsylvania Are Failing

Times are tough for urban school districts in central Pennsylvania.

Saddled with stagnant tax bases and serving large numbers of low-income and special-needs students, they’re struggling to stay afloat in the face of steep cuts in state and federal education funding.

But School District of Lancaster isn’t experiencing the economic woes of its neighbors.

The school districts in York city and Harrisburg have been declared “financially distressed” by the state, which appointed financial recovery committees to develop radical plans to keep them solvent.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/article/local/842996_Why-the-School-District-of-Lancaster-is-financially-thriving-when-similar-districts-in-Pennsylvania-are-failing.html#ixzz2RoBpQLeT

Proposed Budget Hikes Berks Property Taxes For 1st Time In 8 Years

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Berks County property taxes would increase for the first time in eight years under a proposed $462 million budget for 2013 presented to the Berks County commissioners Thursday.

If the budget would be adopted as it stands, annual taxes would rise by 6.3 percent to 7.372 mills from 6.935 mills, or $43.70 annually on a property assessed at $100,000.

The spending plan represents a $2.8 million decrease from the current year’s budget.

The tax increase would raise about $7.7 million, Budget Director Robert J. Patrizio Jr. said.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=428418

Another Look At Manheim Township’s $3.2 Million Deficit

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County

Image via Wikipedia

Many Manheim Township residents are “concerned” about the size of the community’s deficit, new township Commissioner Dave Heck said.

And the commissioners, the township’s decision-making board, need “to start immediately” to look for ways to chop that $3.2 million deficit way down, Heck said.

The other commissioners agreed, voting this week to take the unusual step of reopening their township’s already approved 2012 budget.

Hoping to find ways to reduce that deficit, the five-member board voted Monday to take a new look at the 2012 spending plan.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/article/local/576571_Another-look-at-Manheim-Township-s-deficit.html#ixzz1kij91pd9