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Gainesville school district plans to decrease tax rate

POSTED: August 4, 2014 9:45 p.m.

The Gainesville City Board of Education will lower the tax rate for fiscal year 2015 at its Aug. 18 meeting.

The new rate of 7.48 mills will reflect a tax digest that is higher than previously estimated, preventing a tax increase that would occur if the millage stayed at its currently budgeted rate of 7.59 mills.

A mill represents $1 for each $1,000 in assessed value.

The board adopted a tentative budget earlier in the year that established the higher millage rate with an expected digest of $23,036,795. A tax digest estimate released by the city of Gainesville, which collects taxes for the school district, anticipates a higher rate of collection than the original projection due to an increase in assessed property values.

With a rate of 7.48 mills, the district will collect $23,536,160, which is $499,364 more than previously estimated.

According to Janet Allison, chief financial officer for the district, a figure that close to the original estimate is not legally considered a tax increase.

Allison said at a school board work session Monday the city uses a complex formula to determine the rate at which millage must be decreased in order to avoid a tax increase.

If taxes increased, Allison said, the district would be required to go through a public hearing process.

“Two weeks is not enough time to do that,” she said.

Allison said that legally the board could further reduce taxes, but she recommended the minimum millage rollback because of the unpredictability of tax collection.

“It’s the minimum decrease we would have to do to not be considered a tax increase,” she said.

She added it’s possible the full amount estimated will not be collected and that even the new numbers from the city are a “rough estimate.”

Allison noted though some individuals may pay more in taxes this year while others may not pay as much as they have previously, “Collectively, we’re not increasing taxes.”

A total of 2,117 properties will see increases in assessed value this year, while 5,635 will see a decrease, according to materials Allison provided at the board work session. However, increases were higher than decreases, with an average assessed property value increase of $49,262 and an average decrease of $8,669.

The board will vote on the amended budget at the Aug. 18 meeting, which will be held at 6 p.m. in the municipal courtroom. The final budget for fiscal year 2015 will be adopted on Sept. 16.


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