A $3.27 Increase in the Local School Tax Rate?
By IVAN BELIVEAU
The Tax Impact Analysis (TIA) sent to the Budget Committee (BC) on December 12, 2009 shows that the Local School Tax Rate may increase from the 2009 rate of $9.50 to $12.77, a $3.27 change. This represents about a 27.5% increase over 2009 for several reasons.
The 2009 one-time contribution of $3,370,333 from the “School Unreserved Fund Balance” lowered the 2009” School Budget Raised with Taxes” portion to $16,694,628. The “Estimated Revenue” portion of the School Budget of $14,595,609 (2009) plus the “2009 School Budget Raised with Taxes” brought the total 2009 “School Operating Budget” to $34,660,647.
The absence of a similar “Unreserved Fund Balance” transfer in 2010 means that the “School Budget Raised with Taxes” increased to $21,477,037, an increase of $4,603,666 (+27.5%). This increase brought the total 2010 “School Operating Budget” to $36,626,442.
This 2010-2011 total number also occurred because the School Board (SB) increased the 2010-2011 Operating Budget by almost $2M.
The above numbers are not fiction. They are derived from the TIA that is available to the public. The SB member on the BC received these numbers on December 12th just like the other BC members. Presumably these numbers were shared with the SB.
The SB should also understand all these budget numbers as they generated them in the first place.
It is felt that it is not an injustice to the SB and that it is entirely appropriate to share these numbers with the public who ultimately must decide the impact and fate of the budget. The BC reduced the increases of the SB by only $691,539 in a spirit of compromise.
There were other members of the BC who might have preferred to see the budget “level funded.”
Any change to the above numbers will obviously affect the overall budget.
An updated TIA shows that if the SB goes with an estimated unreserved fund balance of $310,00 plus $300,000, then the tax impact goes down to a potential $2.84/$1,000 assessed home value.
As far as property tax impact goes, the SB sent the BC an estimated increase of $3.51/$1,000.
It could be estimated, at this time, that the final property tax impact of the “Local School Tax Rate” will be between $2.84 and $3.51/$1,000.
The professional performance of all the school employees is not in question. In fact there is broad praise, for the most part, for the work done by the schools.
It is simply a matter of whether holding increases “in-check” makes sense at this time, until there is a change in the current unpleasant economic climate that affects many Goffstown residents.
All Goffstown voters should indeed thoughtfully scrutinize and understand the budget numbers.
Goffstown voters will ultimately get to vote for and pay the property taxes.