Moravian Manor asks board to review its tax bill

By on March 6, 2019

Retirement community’s taxes surged as much as 90 percent due to recent property reassessment

Moravian Manor officials asked the Warwick School District to consider easing the retirement community’s tax burden at the school board’s March 5 Committee of the Whole meeting.

President and CEO David Swartley emphasized the relationship with the community and school district by pointing out programs such as employment of high school students at Moravian Manor, the Socrates Café interactive program with gifted students and retirement community residents, and donations to the Warwick Educational Foundation.

Moravian Manor is currently undertaking a major expansion with carriage homes at Hendrick’s Place and carriage homes and apartments at Warwick Woodlands With recent property reassessment, Moravian Manor has seen taxes increase significantly, as much as 90 percent.

Swartley explained that the increased taxes were placing a burden on Moravian Manor and increasing the costs for residents. As a result, the retirement community is losing sales due to the higher tax rates.

Moravian Manor has appealed the tax reassessment, and hopes to have some tax relief so that they will be able to provide skilled and assisted living to seniors in the community, and provide their benevolent fund for residents who have run out of resources. 

“We need to pay a fair share,” said Swartley. “Please consider relief in our taxes.” The school board was presented with the latest update on the Warwick School District’s upcoming 2019-20 budget.

In related financial news, Chief Financial Officer Nathan Wertsch provided the update, and reported that the S&P Ratings had been upgraded to “AA” from “AA-.” The upgraded rating reflects the opinion that the school district is in a very strong financial position, maintains good financial practices, and has a rapid principal debt amortization and moderate overall debt burden, noted Wertsch.

Wertsch updated the board on changes that had occurred in the last month, since his previous update in February. He reported that revenue had decreased by $76,000, due to changes in earned income taxes and salary savings due to above average retirements. Expenses have also decreased, by $480,000, relating to above average retirements, lower PSERS/SS payments, and Site/Admin and non-repetitive budget decreases.

“Additional retirements may yield more savings. Special education placements are favorable year to date,” said Wertsch, detailing other budget considerations that are likely to affect the final 2019-20 budget.

Scholastic Writing Award winners include Valerie Hanna, Lauren Matt, Leah Charles, and Jack Castellitto

Wertsch will be keeping the school board updated on progress made toward the 2019-20 budget as the year progresses and a clearer picture emerges in factors affecting income and expenses.
Scholastic Writing winners

Also at the meeting, four award-winning Warwick students shared their writing talents with the Board.

Two of the students, seventh grader Jack Castellitto and eighth grader Lauren Matt, both received Gold Keys in the Scholastic Writing Awards. Their work will go on to the national writing competition. Matt also received an honorable mention.

Warwick High School freshman Leah Charles received a Silver Key for her poignant story of dealing with grief when three students were involved in a car crash last October, and two of them died from their injuries.

Senior Valerie Hanna received an honorable mention for her writing portfolio “The Passion Project of a Teenage Girl.”

The four were just a few of the young writers who received awards in the annual writing competition. Language Arts teachers Michele Witmyer of the high school and Wendy Hoyer of the middle school reported that 12 middle school students and six high school students had received awards. Of them, five high school students and four middle school students were Gold Key winners.

In a touching memoir, Charles recounted the sorrow that affected her and the entire Warwick community when two students died and a third was seriously injured. Her personal essay was titled “Heartbroken,” and school board members were visibly moved as she read her essay.

“We will never forget what happened on October 26, 2018. We can’t forget. We must remember the students and teachers involved. We can’t fall apart. That would be devastating. We will only grow stronger. We have only grown stronger,” read Charles from the conclusion of her essay. “We are Warwick. We are Warwick Strong. In loving memory of the students who were killed in this accident. We will never forget you.”

Castellitto demonstrated his talents for science fiction writing in his piece titled “The Mask.” He joked that part of his story was written in Greek, which he cannot speak. His fantasy story was set in the cloudy streets of London, where children begged their grandfather to tell them one more story. That story took place in a faraway land known as Deltaria, when a king banned all musical instruments, art supplies and tapestries. That didn’t stop a young boy named Benjamin from dreaming and pretending to be a musician, artist or architect. Then one day he discovered a magical mask.

Matt demonstrated her own magic with words in a lyrical poem “Speaking.”

“The way words rolled off her tongue, Were sweet just like honey, That I craved to taste in my own mouth. But my words toppled out like tumbleweed in the desert, Stumbling into other words, Sentences and punctuation that made it unreadable,” read Matt from the beginning verses of her poem.

Hanna painted a sunshine infused poem from her collection of writings. Her poem “Yellow” was a celebration of the color of sun and lemons and canaries. A portion of her poem read…”For you can feel her warmth a mile away. She is the rustling of fall leaves. And the bubbly squeak of rubber ducks. The scent of sunflowers that graze against your cheek. She is the Sun.”

Laura Knowles is a freelance feature writer and regular contributor to the pages of the Record Express. She welcomes feedback and story tips at lknowles21@gmail.com.

About Cory Van Brookhoven

One Comment

  1. Mark Freeman

    March 10, 2019 at 8:19 am

    It is great to know Moravian Manor thinks they are paying too much in School Tax. I have wondered why that our taxes have not dropped. With the rapidly expanding tax base from the 55 and over communities being built, the school district should be very well funded. None of these new residents bring children with them so there is no additional school tax burden but a lot of new residents to pay tax.

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