2012-05-17 / Front Page

Central Fulton Proposes .6412 Mill Tax Increase

Board accepts proposed budget
By Chanin Rotz-Mountz

The Central Fulton School Board gave a tentative nod of approval to the general operating budget for the upcoming school year at its regular meeting last Tuesday.

The budget, according to school district Superintendent Dwayne Northcraft, shows expected revenues in the amount of $13,113,456. Meanwhile, expenditures come in at a lower amount of $12,957,904.

The difference of $155,552 has been earmarked as a budgetary reserve at this time in the event the district encounters any unplanned repairs or purchases as well as to offset uncollected budgeted revenues. Northcraft noted that if the money is not used during the course of the year, the remainder will be helpful in rebuilding the district’s available fund balance.

The superintendent went on to note that the largest expenditures for the district continue to be salaries and benefits. However, the largest line item increases are tuition costs and retirement funding.

“The proposed governor’s budget has minimal impact on the district this year with the biggest reduction seen in the Accountability Block Grant in the amount of $65,326. The proposed governor’s budget had such a small impact because the most devastating cuts were in the 2011-12 budget and were carried forward into the new budget,” said Northcraft. Cuts made by the district last year included a reduction in staff numbers, employee insurance changes and contracted services. In addition, energy efficiency initiatives are saving approximately $100,000 in electricity usage.

In connection with airing its proposed final budget, the board also announced its intention of raising the real estate tax rate by .6412. If the budget and millage rate receive final approval at the board’s June 12 meeting, the millage rate for Central Fulton taxpayers would increase to 28.5222 mills.

Northcraft indicated the district did apply for additional exceptions through the state and were accordingly granted exceptions in the areas of special education and retirement funding. The exceptions would have reportedly allowed the board to raise taxes to generate an additional $235,868 in funding.

The board, Northcraft said, elected not to use the approved exceptions and therefore only wish to raise the millage to the Act 1 index of 2.3 percent. The additional .6412 mills will equate to an additional $103,394 in income for the district, while the increase will cost the taxpayer an average $34.77.

“Again, the increase was necessary to offset the increasing cost of charter school tuition and retirement funding,” concluded Northcraft.

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