2017-18 Gainesville school budget tax rate
Tax Rate, Amount of Budget Subsidized by Fund Balance
6.85 mills, $3.138 million
6.65 mills, $3.929 million
6.453 mills, $4.709 million
With a 2018 fiscal year budget already approved, Gainesville City School System board members are now trying to make a final decision on how to pay for it.
School board members had their first look at three proposed tax rates for consideration at a meeting Monday night. All three would require the district to dip into its fund balance to pay for its $70.1 million 2017-18 budget approved in June. To be settled is how much the fund balance will be hit and how much taxpayers will be asked to pay.
The board is scheduled to set the millage rate for property taxes in September. The millage rate equals $1 of taxes on every $1,000 of taxable value.
The three options presented to the board Monday were:
• Keep the tax rate at the same 6.85 mills it was during the 2017 fiscal year. That would mean a tax increase for some taxpayers who saw their property taxes reassessed at a higher value in 2017. It would also mean taking about $3.138 million out of the fund balance in 2018, leaving a projected fund balance of $11.86 million at the end of June 2018.
• Do a partial rollback of the tax rate to 6.65 mills. That would mean a savings of approximately $20 in property taxes on a $100,000 home, according to Superintendent Jeremy Williams. But it would also require the district to dip into the fund balance about $3.929 million, leaving a projected fund balance at the end of the fiscal year of $11.07 million.
• Adopt the full rollback rate of 6.453 mills. The rollback rate is computed as the tax rate that would produce the same total revenue as the previous year had there not been a reassessment. Williams said a full rollback would save taxpayers $41.50 in taxes on a $100,000 home. But it would also cost $4.709 million from the fund balance, leaving a projected fund balance at the end of the 2018 fiscal year of $10.29 million.
The fund balance was approximately $15 million at the end of the 2017 fiscal year, according to Kathy Pethel, director of finance for the school district.
Board member Delores Diaz expressed concerns about dipping too much into the fund balance.
“One thing that concerns me is how much we’re going to have to dip into our reserves,” she said, adding that much of the increases in the 2018 budget were related to salaries, teacher retirement and employee insurance. “Those are fixed amounts as far as salaries, retirement, insurance and it will carry forward from year to year. I’m really concerned if we dip into our reserves so deeply, then we’ll have to do it again next year. It worries me. Our reserve is really going to be diminished.”
The board will consider the options as well as any other options suggested by board members at its Aug. 21 meeting. Williams said he plans to make a recommendation to the board at that meeting and hopes the board will be able to adopt a tentative millage rate Aug. 21.
If the board approves any rate other than the full rollback rate, three public hearings will be required before final approval of the tax rate next month.