System looks at tax rate
Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 12, 2016
WEST POINT — The Troup County School System is proposing keeping its millage rate the same as the past several years, which would mean about a 1.31 percent increase in tax revenue.
The system would collect more tax revenue than last year due to an overall increase in taxable property value in the county, despite keeping its 18.85 millage rate unchanged. Because of the potential increase in revenue, the system is required by state law to host public hearings and consider a rollback rate — a decreased millage so it would collect the same amount of tax revenue as the previous year.
The first two hearings were held Monday at Hogansville Elementary School and West Point Elementary School. No residents attended either meeting. A final hearing is set for July 18 at 6:30 p.m. in the school system’s Administrative Services Center, 100 N. Davis Road, building C, following the Board of Education caucus meeting.
Although the tax rate has been advertised, per state requirements, as an increase, school system CFO Byron Jones clarified the only tax payers who will see a difference are those whose property values have changed. With the current 18.85 mills, anyone whose property value is unchanged from last year will pay the same in taxes as they did previously. However, if someone’s value increased, they will see a proportionate increase in their tax due, and likewise, anyone whose value decreased will owe less.
If the board chooses to use the rollback rate of 18.606 mills, the school system would collect the same overall amount in tax revenue as it did last year. That would mean a slight decrease for property owners whose values are unchanged.
The estimated 1.31 percent difference will mean “a couple hundred thousand dollars” more in tax revenue for the system, Jones said. One mill is equal to one-tenth of a cent of taxable property value.
After the final hearing on July 18, the Board of Education is set to adopt a millage rate. The rate then will have to be approved by the Troup County Commission, set for the commission’s 9 a.m. meeting July 19 at the Troup County Government Center, 100 Ridley Ave.
The 18.85 current mill rate was used when staff proposed the $103,518,255 budget for the upcoming fiscal year. The budget has $101,768,255 in expected revenue with the difference — about $1.75 million — coming from the school system’s about $23 million in reserve funds.
The budget includes a 3 percent raise for all employees, which system officials said will make the system more competitive in attracting and retaining employees.
The budget also allows the system to add new instructors and teaching resources for the next fiscal year. Much of the expected additional revenue will come from $2.8 million in the additional state-allocated funds, which includes $1.8 from reduced austerity cuts and a $1 million increase in equalization funding, which is based on local property values.
Plans are to add teachers, especially in gifted classes, along with paraprofessionals in alternative classrooms and for reading instruction, Jones said during a presentation to the Board of Education in May. Additions to custodial positions and “one or two” school administrative positions and other resources are also expected.
The majority of the school system’s funding comes from the state with about $58.6 million expected in the upcoming fiscal year and local taxes accounting for about $42.7 million.