The Perkiomen Valley School Board voted 7-1 on Feb. 11 to eliminate the $15 per capita tax, also known as a “head” or “nuisance” tax as of July 1, 2014, which will eliminate just under $145,000 in district revenue.
School board member Lynn Bigelow suggested the removal of the tax, assessed on all residents 18 years old and over, except for students, military, and disabled residents, during a Jan. 15 discussion regarding tax collector compensation, citing a significant increase in earned income tax, a positive audit report and a recent bond refinance as reasons for the elimination.
At the time, the board was debating over reducing tax collector compensation on the $15 per capita tax bill from $3.12 to $2.12, which several local tax collectors opposed.
Board members expressed agreement that the method of collecting the tax was wasteful, and that the costs for postage would be increasing next year, upping the total collection cost.
“Frankly, it’s not efficient,” board president Lori Snyder said of the tax. “You’re spending too much to collect too little.”
During the Feb. 4 discussion, board member Paul Smith suggested that if the lost $145,000 was added onto the real estate tax and divided by parcels, and if the per-parcel increase was less than the original $15 tax, it was a sound financial decision.
Weaver did the math and determined the additional per-parcel cost would be $11.67.
“To me, it’s clear,” Smith said, upon hearing Weaver’s answer. “I would support eliminating the per capita tax”
Board member Ann Mantey was opposed to removing the tax during most of the discussions due to the $5 million budget deficit facing the school board.
“There are things on the 'what are we going to cut list' much less than the $144,000 that we lose,” Mantey said in an earlier discussion on the topic. However, Mantey voted for the elimination of the tax on Feb. 11.
School Board Director Gerry Barnefiher was the lone dissenter in the decision.
“Until we have a track record of the earned income tax being forecast-able, I’m not conformable with any sort of elimination,” Barnefiher said.
In addition to eliminating the per capita tax, the board set tax collector compensation on real estate taxes for $3.12 for each bill issued, and an additional $1 for each second and third installment collected.
For More Reading:
PVSD Board Tables Tax Collector Compensation Discussion; Questions Eliminating Per Capita Tax