Superintendent will recommend no tax increase
The millage rate is down slightly from last year—1/100ths of a percent—but Lumpkin County School Superintendent Dr. Rob Brown says he will recommend not going to the rollback rate when he addresses the Board of Education at the Monday, Aug. 8 meeting.
“It’s a minimum cost to us and a benefit to the tax payers,” he says.
A mill represents $1 per each $1,000 of value in the property digest. Last year a mill was worth 16.829. This year it is down to 16.819 due to a small amount of growth.
When growth occurs in the digest, the state mandates local governments to “roll back” the millage rate generated from increases in assessments so that it does not collect more than in previous years. School boards, counties and cities may go to the new rollback rate, but only if they hold three public meetings and properly advertise the increase in the local newspaper.
This is the first increase in Lumpkin’s digest since 2008, says Tax Commissioner Rachel Pruitt.
“We had some inflationary growth and some loss in motor vehicle ad valorem due to the change in how tags are taxed,” she says. “It’s very encouraging to see real estate picking up and the value of homes rising.”
The Superintendent already planned to tap into the system’s reserve fund to balance the 2016-2017 budget, holding the line on raising school taxes despite additional costs from continuing austerity cuts at the state level. He proposes cuts in “every single area” of the budget, he says.
Eighty-five percent of the budget is tied up in personnel, but the only savings there, he says, will be through attrition.
One thing that may help the school system’s financial picture is that as of Aug. 1, it is debt-free and no longer has to pay interest on any loans.
Brown anticipates using about $1.5 million of the current $3.7 million the system has in reserve.