Assistant Superintendent for Business and Finance Dr. Jason Buckner recommended, and the Board approved, setting the operating tax levy at $3.24 for all subcategories of property for the 2012 tax year (2012-13) budget.
This increases the district’s tax levy from $2.75 for the first time in nearly twenty years and is the direct result of voters passing Proposition 1 in April 2012.
In addition, Dr. Buckner recommended, and the Board approved, a debt service (bond) levy of $.39, increasing the levy by $.04 from the $.35 levy set for the 2011-12 school year.
The operating tax levy and the debt service levy were both set beneath
the ceilings approved by the Missouri State Auditor’s Office. As a
result of a decrease in property assessments, the district’s operating
tax ceiling was approved at $3.3393, and the debt service tax ceiling
was approved at $.781, making a combined tax ceiling of $4.1203.
However, the Board of Education chose to roll back both levies to a
combined $3.63, or $.4903 less than the allowable ceiling.
The operating levy was set at $3.24 as approved by voters and is the
amount upon which the district’s 2012-13 operating budget is based.
The debt service levy was raised slightly because, in recent years,
since the downturn in the economy, the debt service fund balance
remaining after making all principal and interest payments for the
year has been minimal.
Raising the levy slightly will ensure the district’s ability to make required principal and interest payments over the next year should unforeseen circumstances arise. In addition, maintaining more substantial reserves will assist the district in maintaining its AAA bond rating.
Board members weigh in
Board member Ken Smith urged caution. “This is a process of rolling
back the levy, but in the future we have the ability to reverse that.
“We want to protect our revenues if there is a continued downturn in
the economy,” said Smith.
Smith noted that should the debt service fund get too large in the
future, the district would be required to roll back the levy or buy
back bonds early.
“We need to keep our AAA bond rating and continue to pay our debt
service levy obligations on time,” said Smith.
Board Member Andy Bresler cautioned the district in this matter
saying: “It would be peril if we drain down our balance too low. We
have to have enough money to pay for projects approved by this
community,” he said.