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Trustees drop tax rate by 1 cent

Trustees drop tax rate by 1 cent
NANNETTE KILBEY-SMITH Dr. Cody Miller and Dr. Josť Moreno (from left), district school board president and superintendent, respectively, visit for a few minutes prior to the Aug. 19 board of trustees special meeting, while board members Susan Reinhard, Kimi Kravitz, and David Watson do the same.

The La Vernia Independent School District trustees have adopted a tax rate of $1.38 per $100 of assessed value for the coming fiscal year. The rate was approved during the board’s Aug. 19 special meeting.

This is a penny less than last year’s rate of $1.39, which was a 1/2-cent drop from the previous year’s rate of $1.395. The rate includes $1.04 for maintenance and operations, and 34 cents for debt service.

Director of Finance Kati Burke presented the pro-posed budget and several different tax-rate scenarios for the board during a public hearing prior to the board’s vote. (See “Alternative tax rates” for more.) Only one member of the public and one media representative attended.

“If we drop it a penny this year, we have the option of dropping it by another penny next year,” said board Vice President Kimi Kravitz.

“I’m for saving the taxpayers money!” offered board member James Barnett, who was in favor of lowering the rate even further.

Revenue from the ad valorem taxes collected by the district will support a balanced budget of $24,607,121, which includes $1,343,669 for the school nutrition program. Instruction comprises $13,831,041 of the budget.

The total taxable value of all property in the district, according to the public notice announcing the tax rate hearing, is $776,999,044, which includes properties in both Wilson and Guadalupe counties. The average taxable value of a residence in the district is $169,337. The taxes due on such a residence will be $2,336.85.

The district anticipates a collection rate of 99 percent, Burke said after the meeting.

“This will raise more for maintenance and operations than last year’s rate,” said Dr. Cody Miller, the board president, just prior to the vote by the board.

The budget was approved unanimously by the six board members present; Janette Chall was not in attendance. The tax rate passed 5-1, with Barnett voting in opposition.

The trustees also briefly discussed board operating procedures and approved budget amendments for the current fiscal year.

Alternative tax rates

La Vernia ISD Director of Finance Kati Burke proposed four different tax-rate scenarios for the trustees to consider Aug. 19. All factored in the district’s debt payment of $3,410,366 related to bond construction of approximately $34.7 million, approved by voters in 2007. Also factoring in the scenarios is $390,553 in existing debt allotment funding and $283,851 in facility allotment funding.

¢A rate of 33 cents per $100 of assessed value would raise $2,641,797, leaving the district to use $94,165 from the interest and sinking (debt) fund balance.

¢33.5 cents would raise $2,680,647, with the district adding $55,315 from the debt fund balance.

¢34 cents (the rate approved by the board), would raise $2,719,497, with the district adding $16,465 from the debt fund balance.

¢34.5 cents would raise $2,758,347, with nothing moved from the debt fund balance.

¢35 cents would collect $2,797,197, moving nothing from the debt fund balance.

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