School taxes stay flat

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By Tia Lynn Lecorchick staff writer

The Morgan County Board of Education (BOE) adopted the rollback millage rate, as advertised, at 16.477, reduced from 2013’s millage rate of 18.213, on July 21 at their monthly meeting. The new millage rate was rolled back from 2013, but results in the same amount of tax revenue collected for the school system because of the average rate of increased property values in Morgan County this year. The BOE also unanimously approved the Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 budget, as advertised, with a total revenue of $27,565,097 in the general fund and $27,802,245 in expenditures. This year’s budget is over $1.2 million more than the FY 2014 budget. According to the BOE, the spike is primarily a result of no more furlough days on the school calendar, which will cost the school system an estimated $670,000. Regardless of the increase in expenditure, the BOE adopted the rollback millage rate. “There is a mechanism that allows us to roll the millage rate up or down as the values of properties go up or down.

This allows the school system to collect the same amount of property taxes as last year, even though property values in Morgan County on property that was reassessed increased 10 percent this year!” explained Libby Whitaker, chief financial officer for the school system. Whitaker also noted that while the average property value increased 10 percent, there are many homeowners whose property values increased by much more and some whose property values did not increase at all. “I appreciate everyone’s efforts in keeping us either on budget or below budget for the most part this past year,” said Nelson Hale, chairman of the BOE. “Let’s do even better this coming year.” The board also approved a new clause for their 2014-2015 Non-Resident Tuition policy for out-of-county high school students. The tuition for the coming school year is $571 (first and last month’s payments) due on August 1 and $250 per month for each month in between.

Whitaker also informed the BOE of a 5 percent discount that will be offered to out-of-county students whose tuition is paid in full upfront as an incentive. The discount will go into effect this school year. The board also approved a list of new textbooks for the high school in Math and Physics, a list of surplus items from Special Education, Transportation, Morgan County Primary School, and the Central Office. The board also approved MCHS Teacher Sonya Meyer’s request to take students to Walt Disney World in May 2015, and MCHS Coach Doug Connelly to take the softball team on an overnight trip for Team Building Activities from August 8-9.

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