The Troup County School System will end the year with some money to spare, and set its millage rate Monday, opting to collect less in property taxes than last year, officials said.
School System CFO Byron Jones gave a preliminary financial report to the Board of Education Monday for the full 2013-14 fiscal year that showed 97.76 percent of budgeted expenses – totaling $94,787,082 – had been spent and 101.39 percent of budget revenues – totaling $98,314,395 – were received.
Under expenses, Jones noted that instruction - the system’s biggest expense - was under budget by more than $1 million. He said that was due to good budgeting and efficiency in the classrooms.
“It looks like we’re allocating the resources efficiently,” Jones said.
The increase in revenues were partly due to the $1.7 million returned to the school system by the state legislature after it shorted the system last year due to an error in calculating wealth rankings. Also, the school system’s share of TAVT - title ad valorem taxes on new vehicles that began last year - is now disseminated into its general fund. The fees previously came in as part of the system’s special-purpose, local-option sales tax funds, which are separate from general funds.
The total excess is $3,527,313, according to Jones’ preliminary report. That brings the system’s reserves to $13,545,677, but Jones said some more year-end expenses may trickle in over the next month that will use that money. He also noted that the $750,000 deficit budgeted for next year will be taken out of reserves, so the additional funds will help buffer that impact.
“We’ve got some lofty goals after we complete next year that we’re trying to look into, furlough days and et cetera,” Jones said. “We’re trying to look at and see if we can get some of that back to normal. But that’s a goal we’re going to have to look at if we can do.”
The Board of Education also approved a millage rate of 18.85 mills, the same as last year, in a called meeting following Monday’s caucus. Due to the county’s property valuations, the millage rate actually could have been increased so the school system could collect the same amount of tax funds as last year, Jones said, but they opted to “leave money on the table” and keep the rate steady.
Jones said the property digest for the county shows $382,274 less in taxes levied, or a drop of 0.47 percent. He noted there are variables to how that will affect collections, but it will be less.