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Gainesville schools set timetable for budget

Millage rate up for discussion

POSTED: April 21, 2014 11:38 p.m.

A slight increase in expected property tax revenue and funds coming from the state are two factors being considered as Gainesville Board of Education members prepare for budget discussions.

“We’re six weeks away from a budget resolution,” board member Sammy Smith said. “(There’s) lots of work, lots of study.”

At Monday’s board meeting, Smith requested a look at what the budget would look like if Gainesville’s millage rate, now set at 7.59, decreased.

“I would like to see some comparisons,” Smith said. “But we have to keep in mind that the economy is not as robust as we want it to be. It’s getting there ... but I would always like to see comparisons. Hopefully, (we’re) just being a good advocate of taxpayers’ trust.”

Gainesville has kept the 7.59 millage rate for 2013 and 2014. Smith asked Chief Financial Officer Janet Allison to provide comparisons of a budget set with a quarter-mill reduction, and a half-mill reduction.

One mill equals $1 per $1,000 in assessed property value. Property is assessed at 100 percent in Gainesville.

“Right now, it’s staying the same,” Chairwoman Maria Calkins said about the millage rate. “At this point, we have just finished hearing from all of the schools and the departments on what their budget needs are.”

With a millage rate of 7.59, Allison said she anticipates a 2015 tax bill of $24 million, minus various exemptions including those for senior citizens and veterans. In a report to board members, she expects schools to receive around $22.8 million from property taxes in the next fiscal year, up from the $21.7 million this year. That’s at a 95.9 percent collection rate.

The property tax projection was current as of April 2, Allison said.

Also, funds from the state are expected to be around $35 million for the 2015 fiscal year, though again that’s subject to change.

Property taxes and the state monies coming from Quality Basic Education funding are two of the largest components of the school system’s general fund budget.

Allison plans to present the proposed budget at the May 5 work session of the board. The public hearing is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. May 14 at Gainesville High’s media center.

Board members are scheduled to vote on tentative budget adoption June 2, with final adoption scheduled for the June 16 board meeting. All board meetings are held at 6 p.m. in the school board’s main office at 508 Oak St. in Gainesville.


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