By Megan Myers
The Winfield Board of Education voted Aug. 15 to reconfigure the district’s tax rate for the next fiscal year, and to pay off its 2014 bonds early.
The tax rate changes, which will have no net increase on the district’s overall tax levy, were necessary due to increases in county property assessments this year, according to the district’s financial advisor, L.J. Hart.
State law mandates that when property assessments are raised substantially, as they were this year in the county, taxing entities such as the R-IV District must roll back some of its operating tax levy in order to avoid receiving a windfall in revenue.
The board held a public hearing regarding the changes prior to its regular meeting. Although no members of the public showed up to comment, Superintendant Daniel Williams offered a brief summary of the plan to the school board members.
“The overall tax levy will remain consistent at 4.3394 cents” per $100 of assessed valuation, he said. “Fund one, the general fund, was rolled back 30 cents into fund three, the debt service fund. Capital projects remain cents.”
The new rates are projected to increase revenue going to the debt service fund by a little over $470,000, making it possible for the district to take on major financing projects in just a couple of years.
“This is a very positive thing for our taxpayers,” Williams explained. “We will take our 2014 bonds and pay them off by 2022, instead of in 2033. Reducing that total loan by 11 years will save our district and tax payers a little bit over 1.5 million in interest, and increase our bonding capacity to over 9.5 million, so that if we have a future building project that is a need, we can do that in two years.”
During the meeting, Larry Hart, L.J. Hart president, said his firm is “really excited” about the board’s decision to “It was a complicated matter and the fact that you grabbed onto it so quickly was impressive to us. I think you’ll be well-pleased with the results in the future.”