Hissong named school board president in Greencastle-Antrim

PAT FRIDGEN

Reorganization of the Greencastle-Antrim Board of School Directors took place Dec. 3, with Brian Hissong named to the top spot.

On a Ken Haines/Tracy Baer motion, the board unanimously approved the position, although Hissong abstained and Mike Still was absent. The others in support were Eric Holtzman, William Thorne, Mike Shindle, Joel Fridgen and Melinda Cordell.

Outgoing president Holtzman was unanimously elected vice president from a Baer/Haines motion. The terms are for one year.

Hissong said he did not have specific goals under his tenure.

"I just want to be able to run the meetings," he joked. "We have a great board."

Tax ramifications

The board exempted from the Local Services Tax of $52, recently adopted by the Borough of Greencastle, any person whose total income was less than $12,000 per year. Business manager Jolinda Wilson explained that the move was necessary to provide a uniform exemption amount with municipalities that share the LST tax. The borough's rate, effective Jan. 1 for all people who work in the borough, mandated the low-income exemption rate, and Antrim Township had already made the exemption uniform too, said Wilson. Therefore, no matter the outcome of the school board's vote, the rate was established, she added.

The approval passed 7-1, with Hissong voting no.

Wilson noted that Greencastle's adoption of the new tax meant a $25,000 loss of income in 2013 for the school district. In the past Greencastle did not have an LST, commonly referred to as an Occupational Privilege Tax, so the district's $10 levy went entirely to the district. In the new year, out of the $52, Greencastle will keep $47, she said, and the school will get $5 per employed person.

The Franklin County Area Tax Board, which collects the tax on behalf of the municipalities, estimated G-ASD would fall short $19,000, due to $5 less per individual, and lose $6,000, due to collecting nothing at all from the lower income people, Wilson said.

"It's a significant loss because it was already in the budget. The school district used to get the money early in January."

Wilson added that G-ASD would see no difference from Antrim's LST, since the township retained its $10 levy, with each governing body getting  half.