City schools plan budget hearing

Published 5:00 am Monday, June 16, 2008

City school officials are assuring parents that the property taxmillage rate will not be increased at Tuesday night’s budgethearing.

The hearing will be held at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the schooldistrict office and is open to the public.

The Brookhaven School District is working with a projected totalbudget revenue of $21.7 million this year, and proposed totals forthe 2008-2009 school year is $22.2 million. Thirty-one percent ofthat amount, or $6.9 million is expected to be financed through anad valorem tax levy.

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Business Manager Susan Quin said the advertisement that theschool district must run announcing the upcoming budget hearing isrequired by law to state that there will be a tax increase.

“It makes no sense to me, but I can’t explain what theLegislature had in mind when they put that language together,” shesaid.

Quin said attendees to the meeting can expect to see thebreakdown of the types of revenue the district will beanticipating, as well as their projected expenditures.

A contributing factor to the fact that the tax millage is notexpected to have to go up this year is because MAEP was fullyfunded by lawmakers, Quin said.

“That’s one reason we were able to not go up on local taxes,”said Quin. “But obviously when the Legislature doesn’t fund MAEP wehave to find the money somewhere.”

There are other factors to be considered, said Quin. The currentnational gas crisis has affected even the school systems.

“Unfortunately it’s a tough budget year with gas prices, andobviously cost of transportation has gone up,” she said. “Ofcourse, we’ll increase what we’re anticipating for gasexpenditures. We’ll try our best not to impact student activities,but at the present time I don’t know what we’ll try to reduce.”

Quin said while the meeting is open to the public, it’s fair tosay members of the public are rarely in attendance.

“Last year nobody came, but I remember one year in the past thatsome people came,” she said.

Guests to the public hearing will be allowed to speak for areasonable amount of time if they so desire.

Following Tuesday’s hearing, the board is expected to formallyapprove the new year budget at their regular meeting on June24.

The budget will then be presented to the city board of aldermen.Later this year at city budget time, aldermen will set a tax levymillage rate sufficient to fund the school district’s ad valoremproperty tax request.