Budget Committee Asks School Board to Make Cuts In Proposed New Budget

July 8, 2011
Dwayne Page
School Officials Meet with County Budget Committee

County Mayor Mike Foster and the budget committee of the DeKalb County Commission met with members of the Board of Education and Director of Schools Mark Willoughby Thursday night to review the proposed school budget for the 2011-12 fiscal year which calls for pay raises, the hiring of several new personnel, and a seventeen cent increase in the property tax rate.

The budget committee has already previously voted once to reject the budget requests for new spending to create positions. They have only okayed the proposed pay raises.

During the meeting Thursday night at the courthouse, Director of Schools Willoughby renewed the requests for new positions and the tax increase, based on school needs.

Saying that the budget requests were financially unsustainable at this time, County Mayor Mike Foster asked the school board to revise its proposed budget and make cuts where possible.

The school board will meet in a workshop to consider making those cuts Monday night at 6:00 p.m. followed by a special meeting at 8:00 p.m. to formally adopt the revisions in the proposed school budget.

The county budget committee will meet again to review other aspects of the county budget Monday night at 6:00 p.m.

The county's property tax rate is currently $1.46 per $100 of assessed value. The new certified tax rate, as established by the state after reappraisal, is expected to be $1.52. Even though the certified rate is higher than the current rate, it is supposed to generate to the county about the same amount of total local revenue, because of the overall drop in assessments countywide since the last reappraisal.

Still, a tax increase appears to be coming, even with the new certified rate. Steve Bates, the county's financial advisor, told the budget committee Thursday night that a five cent tax hike would be needed to fund the school system's pay raises and the county general fund needs more revenue as well.

While no vote has been taken by the budget committee, based on their discussions, the new tax rate could be as much as $1.57 to $1.60, if adopted by the budget committee and the county commission.

Foster said all budgets must be ready for passage by no later than next Friday, July 15 so that the county commission can get them adopted by early to mid August.

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