Wednesday, August 13, 2014

LMSD District Budget Requires a 2.3 Mil Tax Increase

After considerable debate and a review of current budget numbers
and tax base numbers, the Louisville Municipal School Board of Trustees approved a budget that would result in a 2.34 mill levy increase by a vote of 3-2. The school mil levy will increase from 52.63 mils to 54.97 mils. This mil increase will not increase revenue to the school district but will only generate funds to maintain the same funds level as the 2014 budget.

In spite of mandatory teacher pay raises and other increased costs, the district is maintaining its budget at $5,509,576 with no increase from the previous year. Superintendent Ken McMullan said, “we’re not asking for one penny more, we have just lost assessment which requires a millage increase.”

Mil levy increase can be attributed to the loss of tax base, much of which is due to the April 28 tornado. In the District’s discussions with the Winston County Tax Assessor, Larry Woodward, the projected tax base of the County is expected to decline by roughly $4.5 million. This projection is only an estimate and would likely be subject to further change.

In addition, the Board had to consider the decline in the unrestricted funds balance available to the District when making a decision upon the 2015 budget. In 2011, this fund was at its highest balance of almost $4.5 million. Currently the fund is at $2.8 million. Without a mil levy increase, the District may have had to tap further into this fund for operations which is normally used for improvements and repair.

Based upon the projected tax base, the 2.34 mil levy increase would result in an additional $11.70 in taxes for a $50,000 home, $23.40 for $100,000 home and $46.80 for a $200,000 home.

Board chairman Byrd indicated that she was hopeful that these two mils could eventually come off after homes were rebuilt. Other board members expressed their concern for those who had lost their homes or had a home damaged and that a mil increase would be difficult to swallow and noted that it was often difficult to reduce a mil levy once it was in place. The levy increase passed on a 3-2 vote with board members Moody and Hickman voting against the increase.