Franklin County taxpayers can expect to pay a little more in school taxes next year, thanks to a decision on the state level to up the millage that the district is required to levy.
At Monday evening’s public hearing, the board unanimously approved an increase of a little more than one-tenth of 1 mill, specifically 0.107 mills, to this year’s entire millage rate of 5.750. As a result, county taxpayers can expect to pay 5.857 mills in school taxes next year.
This increase is because the state raised the local required effort, which accounts for about 60 percent of the entire millage, from 3.502 to 3.6090 mills, an increase of about 3 percent. The other component the state controls, the discretionary millage. remains at 0.7480.
The other two components, which the district controls, are unchanged as well. The capital outlay category remains at 1 mill, and the additional operating millage, which was renewed by voters a year ago for another four years, continues at a half-mill annually.
Because the countywide school tax bases climbed $50 million, from $1.89 billion to $1.94 billion, a jump of about 2.6 percent, the boost in millage will yield even more than roughly 3 percent.
Instead, the district can expect to raise about $11.4 million in property taxes, up from the $10.9 million school taxes brought in this fiscal year.
Most of that tax money, about $9.7 million, will go towards the $12.2 million operating budget, which is spent mostly on labor and benefit.
Another $1.9 million of the millage will go to the capital outlay budget, which will cover everything from payments on the loan used to build the new school some years back, to a newly refurbished bus garage to a new school bus and two other vehicles, to new computer equipment to a new telephone system for the entire school, approved at Monday night’s special meeting.
One thing that is clear from the district’s budget, as recounted in Finance Director Shannon Venable’s reports, is that the district has managed to keep a healthy fund balance, well in excess of the minimum 3 percent required by state law.
The fund balance, as of July 1, was about $2.3 million in operating revenue, and about $2.3 million in capital outlay monies. Both are projected to remain about the same at the end of the next fiscal year, on June 30, 2018.
“The school board has been careful with its money,” said Venable.