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East County Friday, Jul. 26, 2013 4 years ago

New tax plan behind Manatee Schools budget

by: Josh Siegel Staff Writer

The Manatee County School Board got its first in-depth look at its preliminary 2013-14 budget during a special board meeting Thursday night.

Michael Boyer, chief financial officer for the school district, said rising home values will bring the district more revenue from property taxes this year.

The millage rate will likely go down — from 7.59 mills to 7.57 mills — although homeowners could pay more in school property taxes due to a roughly 4% increase in property values.

Under the new rate, a taxpayer with a home valued at $200,000 would pay $1,514 in school taxes — roughly $4 less than last year.

But, if that homeowner saw his value increase by 4%, he would pay roughly $58 more this year.

Boyer said the proposed tax levy could bring $196 million in revenue to the district.

Boyer called the budget, which includes no new projects, “excruciating” to put together, as staff scrambled to install new controls that will prevent mishaps that occurred in the past.

Boyer said that the school district still is predicting a $6.3 million budget deficit from last school year.

“We wanted to do it right, and we refused to do it like the past,” Boyer said. “It was excruciating to fund things that weren’t there (budgeted) before. It was extremely painful. This is a very lean budget, believe it or not.”

The district reshuffling that began when Superintendent Rick Mills took over in March meant staff played catch-up with the budget from the start.

In a letter to district employees yesterday, Mills said the budget process started seven to eight months later than usual.

The first public hearing for the budget will be Monday, at which time the board is scheduled to vote on the millage rate.

The school board will not vote to adopt the budget until Sept. 9.

To see a breakdown of the preliminary budget, read the Aug. 1 issue of the East County Observer.

Contact Josh Siegel at [email protected].

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