Before the board's consideration of the revenue-raising measures, a dozen residents voiced objections to the proposed 3-mill business privilege, 1-mill mercantile wholesale and 1.5-mill mercantile retail taxes on gross receipts. They also criticized plans for a district transportation center, the district's recently passed $67.6 million budget and its accompanying 28-mill property tax increase.
One of the local businessmen objecting to the proposed so-called nuisance taxes was David Broadway, owner of a gas station on Makefield Road.
"Every one of you is guilty of not being able to bite the bullet," Broadway told the board members.
He said he paid $16,000 in school taxes this year and that he could not ''see the light" that would brighten the future of local public education as a result of the proposed additional taxes.
"I've hired 253 district students in 30 years," he said. "Some of them can't say what is 6 percent of a dollar, or the amount of sales tax we have to collect. Some can't read the measuring stick we use to see how much gasoline is in each tank. And these are college-bound students I'm talking about."
By creating the business taxes, "you're going to deter businesses from coming to this township," warned Richard Herr, a business owner in Falls Township.
The proposed business taxes were "an outrage," said Dorothy Vislosky, a district justice since 1981 and a school board member from 1972 to 1973. Vislosky said there was "a lot of fat in the budget" and called the proposed taxes "nothing but another bureaucracy in this school district."
She referred to the proposed district transportation center in the Penn- Warner Park as a "bus Taj Mahal." An appropriate site exists in Fallsington, she said.
Board Vice President Kathy Chiovitt said there was no room for buses in Fallsington and invited Vislosky to tour the board's property there to see for herself.
After hearing more than two hours of criticism from residents, the board voted, 5-2, to purchase $5 million in general obligation bonds underwritten by Butcher & Singer, Inc. and Russell, Rea & Zappala, Inc., both of Philadelphia. The bonds carry interest rates ranging from 6.20 to 6.55 percent. Members Michael Pirolli and Chiovitt voted against the measure, and members Elyse Accardi, Murray Cohen, Henry Conroy, Gloria Geary and President Beth Neamand voted in favor of it.
The business tax was defeated 6-1, with only Cohen voting in favor.
In other business, the board unanimously approved the hiring of Nanci Horn as director of special education at $67,100 a year. Horn was one of eight candidates selected from 24 who applied for the vacancy. A supervisor of special education in District 7 of the Philadelphia School District, Horn was the top-ranked choice of all four members of the administration's search committee.