Welcome to the DBTA Website and cyber-organization home page.  To learn about us, please see the section “About DBTA”  and “About Richard Martino” and “About David Pool”,  its Co-Coordinators, below.

Our posts, found under the “POSTS” tab will appear in reverse chronological order – i.e. the most recent post will appear first.  We have tried to make the site as interactively user friendly as we know how.  While the site is primarily for property-taxpaying citizens of the Daniel Boone School District (Amity and Union Townships and Birdsboro Borough in Berks County, Pennsylvania), we welcome responsible participation from all parties who share our stated purposes and principles (see “About DBTA”, below).  We invite not only comments to our own posts, but also invite “guest posts” from any party having content they wish to make known relative to the primary purposes of this organization.  We also encourage, but do not require, free membership in the cyber-organization as described under the tab “DBTA Membership”.  We are currently linked to FaceBook and Twitter for dialogue exchange on any of our posts.

To get the history of the organization’s existence, you’ll need to read some of the older posts.  To keep current with recent thoughts and trends affecting the groups stated purposes, read the latest posts.

Again, welcome.  Regardless of your point of view, we’re glad you’re participating with us here.

About DBTA

The DBTA, until recently known as the Daniel Boone Taxpayers Association has changed its name to the Daniel Boone Taxpayer Activists.  Among other changes, our new logo reflects this change.  DBTA remains, principally, a cyber-organization and a forum to allow those in the Daniel Boone School District to be informed and to share information about the ever-escalating property taxes that fund our local schools.  It  also provides an interactive information exchange about an alternative means to more equitably and effectively provide for the education of our children at the state and local level; namely H.B. 1776 and S.B. 1400 – The Property Tax Independence Act.

More recently, a number of our members have decided that face-to-face  meetings, periodically, would be beneficial in accomplishing our mission and goals.  A new Co-coordinator, Richard Martino, is spearheading these efforts and is now managing the official DBTA email lists.

The DBTA is  a member group of the Pennsylvania Coalition of Taxpayer Associations — a group now of more than 70 taxpayer organizations supporting the elimination of property-based school taxes and reform of educational funding throughout Pennsylvania.   It is not a political action committee, it won’t endorse candidates running for office  nor will it collect dues or contributions for political efforts, but it will make the general public aware of the opportunities to do so by providing them with appropriate links to sites supporting elimination of school property taxes in this school district and elsewhere across the state.  Any information we collect and pass on will be strictly in the form of numeric data that will reflect opinions regarding the issue of property taxation for the funding of local schools vs. alternative means. We will ask you to join the organization by electing membership (free) online.  This is  because number of members will be useful information in the aggregate among other taxpayer groups moving forward to eliminate school property taxes through the means afforded through H.B. 1776 and S.B. 1400 .  However, at no time will you be required to become a member in order to view, post comments on- or otherwise use this  site. In our posts, we will reference a lot of other material through links to other relevant sites.  It will save space and direct you to the source of information.  We invite you to do the same with your comments.  We are a member in principle of the Pennsylvania Coalition of Taxpayer Associations (PCTA) and, as such, have adopted and agreed to Resolutions of that group.  To learn more about that group visit the PTCC website and to review the resolutions we adopt, PCTA resolutions.  And please notice that the resolutions are political party neutral and call only for legislative action by all duly elected representatives of our state government.

About Richard Martino

I’m Rich Martino and I am now Co-Chair, along with Dave Pool, of the Daniel Boone Taxpayer Activists (DBTA).  My wife, Judi, and I live in Amity Township and have been property tax payers here since 2003.  Prior to purchasing our home in Douglassville I lived in Exton and Judi resided in Union Township.  When we purchased our home the school property tax rate was about 23 but we’ve watched it climb almost annually to the point where it’s now approaching 30, an increase of more than 25% in less than 10 years.  But that’s not even the scary part, which is hearing the Daniel Boone School Board publicly stating they don’t see many alternatives to drastically increasing taxes much higher in the next several years.

Like Dave I’ve also worked in the public and private sector; at one point developing and managing multimillion dollar budgets.  Watching how the Daniel Boone School Board has spent/wasted tax dollars by agreeing to union contracts for which there were insufficient funds, by building football stadiums for which there was no financial justification, by building new schools which are unnecessarily lavish and by an overall obvious disregard for the fact that they are spending money that is OURS without our approval is the reason I decided to get involved.

DBTA has achieved some success.  Working with the School Board it was decided that there would be no school property tax increase for the 2012-13 school year.  But they’ve publicly stated they don’t see that happening again anytime soon.  One School Board member has stated several times that he receives many emails from residents saying they don’t care if taxes go up.  Other board members have stated that if it were not for members of our group writing to them, taxes would have gone up.  True or not, the Board needs to hear from us that we want the expenditures controlled, with education being the first and foremost focus of educational expenditures; not sports or buildings that are secondary and are nice only if taxpayers collectively want to afford them!

To do this we need your support in two ways: first, we need many more of you to attend School Board meetings to voice your objection to unnecessary expenditures and exorbitant tax increases and second, we need you to learn about HB 1776 – S.B.1400, The Property Tax Elimination Act and to vocally support it by coming to DBTA meetings, contacting your State Representatives and petitioning the Governor in Harrisburg.  This is not about Dave Pool or Rich Martino!  It’s about all of us, as taxpaying citizens reminding our representatives on the School Board and in Harrisburg that they work for us and do not have a free hand to spend as they please and then simply take more money out of our pockets.  There are people all across this State who have their homes foreclosed because of rising school property taxes.  It must be stopped – NOW!

About David Pool

I am David Pool and I am the Co-Coordinator of the Daniel Boone Taxpayer Activists.  My wife, Helen and I live in Amity Township and have owned a property there since March 1994.  I have a Masters Degree in Organizational Psychology and past careers in Healthcare and Human services management, and a more recent (shorter) career in Information Technology.  I have worked in both public and private sector jobs.  Helen has an employment history in administration and, more recently, in medical billing.  We are both retired although I still maintain a part time Internet business.  We’ve raised 4 kids successfully and are involved with grand kids that are in or have passed through the Daniel Boone education system.  Therefore, we have a vested interest in educational opportunities in the DBASD, as well as taxpayer concerns.

The really significant thing to know about us is that, when we moved here in 1994, our school property tax rate was 13.0 mills.  This meant we were paying $1,300.00 for each $100,000.00 of real estate valuation.  Today, we are paying more that double that!  At the current 28.42 mills, we paid $2, 842.00 per $100,000.00 of assessed property valuation in 2010.  And if the current year’s increase (2011-2012) as proposed goes up another 2.41 mills to 30.83, we will be paying $3,083.00 for each $100,000.00.  That will be a 137% increase in our property taxes in just 17 years!  Our school property taxes are now roughly equal to our mortgage payment!  And even if we pay off the mortgage, we are still going to have to continue to pay that much every year just to live in our own house!  In other words in Pennsylvania, if you own a home or a property, you will always have a co-owner in the value of that home or property.  Your co-owner is the local taxing authority through the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.  They don’t show up on our deed or mortgage document, but they are there none-the-less.  And we don’t want them as uninvited co-owners.

This is why we have decided to once again jump in the fray and try to raise the property-taxpayers awareness as to how unfair and unjust these taxes are.  We were both very active in the DBTA that, in 2005-2006 attempted to raise these same issues.  As predicted then, and is happening now, the local school board is incapable of stemming the rising tide of expenses that we are bearing, exclusively, as property owners.  This is not to “demonize” the current school board – the only place they have to go under current law and practice, is to the property-owning taxpayer!  As we will show in our posts almost all school districts are faced with similar problems.  The root problem that we will be addressing is that, with neither our blessing nor permission, a group of 9 local citizens, once elected, can raise our taxes as they see fit giving us no recourse but to pay or lose our homes!

There is a better way to fund our educational system and it is through the proposed H.B. 1776 S.B. 1400 – The Property Tax Elimination Act.  We plan to show how and why the provisions in  H.B. 1776-S.B. 1400  are better, fairer and more equitable methods with which to generate revenue for education funding.  In addition, H.B. 1776-S.B.1400 completely eliminates the taxing ability of local school boards, thus allowing their primary focus to be the education of our children.  It puts the citizenry in partnership with the local school board in achieving their educational goals.

We hope this clarifies, somewhat, our current involvement and desire to make everyone aware of both the shortcomings of the present system and the benefits of adopting a better way!

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