Poplarville School Board mulls tax raise

Published 2:50 pm Friday, June 24, 2011

Poplarville school board officials don’t know right now whether or not they will be asking for an increase in taxes to support the new 2011-2012 school budget. Although the budget goes into effect on July 1, the school board won’t actually approve final figures until August.

  At a public budget hearing of the Poplarville school board on Tuesday, required by state law, school finance director Samantha J. Sandifer told board members that budget figures right now don’t project any increase in millage rates for the new 2011-2012 budget, which takes effect on July 1.

 But, she added, that could change. It all depends on the school district’s assessed tax valuation. She said that the assessed valuation of the district might come in lower than last year.

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  She said the county assessed valuation figures are not ready yet, and it will be in August before the board actually adopts the final figures and a tax millage rate is known.

 Said Sandifer, “I will come to this board in August and you will then have to determine” what to do.

 She added, “We have had a few people call, and I have told them that our intentions are to maintain what we have, but until we get the assessed valuations, we don’t know.”

  In an advertisement in the Poplarville Democrat on June 2, the school officials said that they projected revenue of $17.7 million for the new budget, and of that amount, $4.4 million is proposed to be financed through “a total ad valorem tax levy,” just slightly more than last year. However, Sandifer said those figures were not the final ones.

 In her presentation on Tuesday, figures showed projected revenues for the new budget at $17.7 million, and of that figure, revenue generated from local sources were set at $5.7 million.

 Expected expenditures were set at $20 million but that included $2 million in capital outlays. The board is currently undertaking major projects upgrading facilities at all four school campuses.

 The figures also showed an estimated beginning fund balance for the new budget on July 1, 2011, of $14.7 million, but showed an ending fund balance for June 30, 2012, of about $2 million less, or $12.3 million.

 One chart on local taxes showed that a home valued at $50,000 pays $23.75 a month, $75,000 pays $35.63, $100,000 pays $47.50, and $125,000 pays $59.38, based on an application of the current millage rate of 57 mills, which includes three mills for a 15-year note.

 The school board made no decisions on the budget after Sandifer’s presentation, only adopting a motion recognizing her presentation of the proposed figures.

 Only two residents attended the budget public hearing in school board offices on Julia Street.