Schools want tax kept the same
At a School Board Finance Committee meeting on June 14, members discussed the proposed millage rate of 56.37 mills for the coming year - the same millage as last year.
In earlier voting, taxpayers approved a general fund millage of 54.23 mills, but the School Board plans to authorize even less than that with 52.27 mills going to the general fund. The remaining 4.10 mills come from the school constitutional tax, which has already been approved statewide.
Jim Melohn, chief financial and administrative officer for the school district, said that despite the millage staying the same as last year, it will still produce less income for the schools.
“We just heard from the assessor that the total assessed value is going to decrease this year for the first time in quite a while,” Melohn said. “It’s going to produce approximately $1.9 million less this year than it did last year...it looks like we’re going to drop just a little bit under $1 million per mill this year.”
Melohn said that the loss could be due to a significant reduction in inventory at local refineries.
With that loss, the school district’s millage will produce about $45.7 million into the schools’ general fund.
Melohn said the School Board’s money management is the reason the millage won’t have to be increased.
“The School Board has done an excellent job in managing the finances and building up a fund balance that helped us in the tougher times,” Melohn said. “It’s not necessary to increase the taxes on the citizens and we can do that and not have lay-offs which you see happening in other parishes.”
Melohn said he thinks the school district’s major projects will slow down in the coming years.
“I think until we see exactly how the economy’s going to be going for the next couple of years, you’ll see a lot of those major projects kind of slowing down,” Melohn said.
Melohn said another reason for a slow-down in the near future may be due to the uncertainty of sales tax revenues.
“The sales taxes are like a roller coaster - you’ve got good years and you’ve got bad years…and we’ve had three really good years,” he said. “This past year, our sales tax collections dropped by about $10 million, but the Board had previously gone ahead and set money aside knowing that there were going to be downturns and bad years.”
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