The Harrisburg School Board is facing a tough challenge to balance next year's budget. Residents will likely be facing a tax increase. And it may be a very big one.
Last year the district approved a 2.5 percent tax hike, but the board is now discussing a tax increase of 9.7 percent.
The chairman of the Budget, Finance and Facilities Committee, Jim Thompson, said even with that increase there remains a $5 million hole in next year's budget.
Thompson said they will continue to have discussions with Chief Recovery Officer Gene Veno to find more sources of revenue and ways to cut expenses. He said the goal is not only to balance the budget.
"But find ways to do that where we're not taking a maximum nick out of our taxpayers," Thompson said. "That is a big concern for us, because it isn't going to get any easier next year."
Veno meanwhile said his five year recovery plan is on schedule to be released April 24th.
And what about those who think it may be hopeless and that bankruptcy is the only option?
"I'm not looking at bankruptcy as an option at this point," Veno said. "That was never even a discussion in any of our planning meetings. I really think we can dig ourselves out of this."
Veno said the district will be better served to go with five year budgets instead of the current 12-month spending plans.
"Once you get to that point, then you can start to see where the trends are, where the costs are," Veno said. "And that's what we built, was a base-year model for five years."