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Gainesville school board votes for slight tax drop
Taxpayers will save $2 on a $100K home
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The Gainesville school board tentatively adopted a modest reduction to the property tax rate Tuesday, lowering the millage rate for fiscal 2011 to 7.39, down from 7.41.

Over the last few years, Gainesville school’s tax rate has stayed the same or decreased, said Superintendent Merrianne Dyer.

Meanwhile, several local school boards, such as those in Cheroke and Henry counties, are reportedly facing increases this year.

The 0.02-mill decrease would equate to a savings of $2 on a $100,000 home.

Janet Allison, chief financial officer for Gainesville schools, said conservative budgeting contributed to the rate decrease. A millage rate is a figure applied to the value of a piece of property to calculate property tax liability.

“We are running a tight ship,” said school board member Maria Calkins. “At one point we raised the millage rate and said that when the deficit was lower we would lower the millage rate as we could.”

A few years ago, the district endured a $5 million budget deficit, Allison said. The year-end fund balance for 2010 will have a surplus after additional state funds for enrollment numbers, a new energy conservation program and savings from budget cuts, among other reasons.

“I think the feeling among the board is recognizing that for fiscal year 2012, we could hit a funding cliff. Therefore we needed to be fiscally smart and build up a surplus,” said board chairman David Syfan.

Because state law requires that a change in millage be publicized for 14 days, the board would not be able to vote on final approval at the regular meeting Sept. 20. Allison said the notice will not appear in the newspaper until Friday at the earliest. A special vote will take place Oct. 4.

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