School board restructures budget, actually approves lower mill levy
Like the City Council, the Tonganoxie School Board has reduced its original mill projections for the 2008 budget.
Last month, Superintendent Richard Erickson proposed roughly a 4-mill increase from the previous year, roughly double that of the city's proposed mill increase.
But at Monday's budget hearing, Erickson announced some that he had restructured the budget and actually made the mill levy slightly lower than 2007's 50.669 rate. The school board approved the 2008 budget with a mill levy of 50.603.
Erickson said Monday that a call from former board member Richard Dean, who left the board this summer after his term expired, helped guide Erickson toward altering the budget. Dean said he was hearing rumblings from several people that the increase was too much for taxpayers.
To accommodate the mill reduction, Erickson worked out a plan to extend the 25-year repayment plan for the $25.3 million bond issue that passed in November 2004 for the school district to 26 years.
That, Erickson said, would reduce the principal on the bond repayment for the next 10 years.
The superintendent also touched on other points as his reasons for the decrease:
- The principal and interest will be added in the last years of the bond and the 26th year.
- In 25 years, because of projected assessed valuation increases, it is projected that 1 mill of tax will produce three times the revenue that it produces today. The net effect of the bond extension, by one year, is that each taxpayer will pay less total tax mills over a 26-year period of time than what they would have paid for the 25-year period.
- Even though taxpayers will pay more interest on the $25.3 million dollar bond debt by extending the debt one year, the exension of the debt allows more taxpayers to pay for the bond debt in future years.
Resident Wall Brawner said the lower mill levy came as better news.
"You've eased my concern when you knocked off the four mills," Brawner said.
For more on the new budget, see the Aug. 22 edition of The Mirror.