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Hall schools ease tax increase estimate

POSTED: June 18, 2008 5:01 a.m.

Taxpayers still will likely pay more in taxes for the Hall County school system, but not as much as earlier expected.

Superintendent Will Schofield said Friday that projections now show the district will need between $500,000 and $550,000 less in local tax money to cover spending "than we had initially anticipated a couple of weeks ago."

In a memo to school employees and community leaders, Schofield said he believes the proposed tax rate now could go to 16.42 mills, instead of 16.53 mills previously projected. The rate currently is 15.75 mills.

One mill equals $1 per $1,000 in assessed property value, with property assessed at 40 percent in the county.

For the owner of a $150,000 home, taxes could rise from $945 to $985.20 under the new scenario, instead of $991.80 it would have been at the higher projected millage rate.

"We are continuing to look at additional possibilities prior to our next meeting," Schofield said.

The Hall County Board of Education is set to hold its third and final public hearing on its proposed tax increase at 6 p.m. Monday in the board room of the school system offices at 711 Green St.

Board members are set to approve the tax rate after the hearing.

Schofield said school officials were able to take a little sting out of the proposed tax hike even though tax collections continued to lag last year by about 3 percent.

The district cut all nonessential spending on the last day of April and total spending for the fiscal year, which ends June 30, will come in approximately 2 percent under budget, which equates to about $4 million, he added.

The school system has proposed a $217.5 million budget for fiscal 2008-09, which begins July 1. That amount is $17,316,785 higher than the current budget.

Rising fuel costs, more students and the new elementary school opening on Union Church Road are among the factors contributing to the new increase, school officials said.



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