School District cuts taxes, but will citizens get a tax break?

Ashley Hunter
ECB Publishing, Inc.

During a special hearing on Monday, Sept. 9, the Jefferson County School Board finalized its annual budget and voted to adopt the new 2019-2020 fiscal year's millage rate for local taxpayers.
In the presence of gathered citizens and school board members, Jefferson County Superintendent of Schools Marianne Arbulu announced that the upcoming fiscal year's millage rate would take a decrease for tax payers – meaning property owners in Jefferson County will be given a bit of a tax break from the school district in the 2019-2020 year.
According to Arbulu, the total millage rate that will be levied during this school year will be less than the state-mandated roll back rate by 1.85 percent.
The millage rate for the 2019-2020 school year, when broken down, will be 3.979 mills for required local effort – nonvoted levy (will raise $2,607,731); 0.748 mills for discretionary millage – nonvoted levy (will raise $490,219); and 1.500 mills for local capital improvement tax (will raise $983,060).
The total proposed millage will be 6.227 mills.
The revenues generated by the school district from this millage rate will go towards the district expenditures of paying the school board, running district administration, maintenance and operation of school district property and assisting with Somerset-purchased services.
“The final budget for fiscal 2019-2020, as presented, is in the amount of $9,658,045.65,” announced Arbulu.
Board Chairwoman Shirley Washington called for questions and in-put from the public, with none of the gathered citizens deigning to speak.
The millage rate was approved by all board members with a final vote of 5-0.
While the lesser millage rate that is remaining below the state-mandated rate may sound like a welcome tax-break for Jefferson County residents who are looking for a little extra pocket change in the upcoming year, it might not play out in a way that saves citizens money.
For while the Jefferson County School District has kept their millage rate below the state level, both the City of Monticello and Jefferson County have approved tentative millage rates that exceed the state's roll-back rate.
The state-mandated roll-back rate, which is defined as the millage rate that is necessary in order for the governing board to generate the same amount of money it raised during the prior fiscal year.
The City of Monticello's rate is 2.18 above the roll-back rate, and Jefferson County is .0797 above the roll-back rate.
This means both the council in Monticello and the commission in Jefferson can be expected to make a little more money in the upcoming year – but it may be at the expense of taxpayer's pocket books.