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  • Tuesday, August 08, 2017
    Brenham school board lowers tax rate 1¢

    Brenham school trustees have set the proposed tax rate at $1.125 per $100 valuation, a one-cent drop.

    Trustees on Monday voted unanimously to set the tax at $1.04 for maintenance and operations — the same as 2016 — and 8.5 cents for debt service, a penny less than last year.

    The one-cent overall decline, however, won’t mean the average homeowner isn’t paying more in taxes because the value of their residence went up.

    The average home in the district was valued at $182,514 this year, up from $172,065 in 2016. The proposed tax rate of $1.125 will add another $102 to BISD’s tax bill.

    Each penny on the tax rate generates about $265,000 in revenue for the district

    The total appraised value of all property in the district totaled $3,062,229,108, a 5.65 percent increase over 2016 total values of $2,862,532,066 but lower than initially projected. Preliminary estimates were for a 10 percent increase in total values.

    Local property taxes will continue to fund the bulk of the district’s total budget for 2017-18 as state funding continues to shrink, said Kim Weatherby, the district’s director of finances.

    Of the $43,187,280 in estimated revenues, $27,282,983 will come from local property taxes, with state funding totaling an estimated $14,703,954.

    A total of $633,500 is expected from federal funds, with another $565,843 from “other local revenue.”

    Total expenditures are estimated at $42,795,771, even with a 4 percent salary increase approved by trustees in June.

    A district’s average daily attendance (ADA) is “the big driver as far as state funding,” said Weatherby. Brenham’s ADA is expected to be 4,528 for the 2017-18 school year, which is about the same as the previous year, she added.

    The 4 percent midpoint pay increase, which along with an additional $25 per month paid toward health insurance costs of employees will add another $1,365,061 to the district’s budget.

    That pay hike, said Weatherby, is “the largest (single) expenditure” in the new budget.

    The salary increase will put the Brenham district “ahead of the market” for teacher salaries, she added.

    “Hopefully we’ll continue to be competitive and attract people into the district,” Weatherby told trustees.

    Payroll costs in the 2017-18 budget are estimated at $32,961,430.

    “We’ve worked with the system we’ve been given,” said Weatherby. “We’ve tried to be conservative.

    “We’re very happy with this budget. The numbers (property values) didn’t come in as high as we had hoped, but we were prepared.”

    A public meeting to hear comments on the tax rate will be held Monday, Aug. 21 at 5:30 p.m. in the high school.

    Trustees also approved the purchase of three 71-passenger buses for a total cost of $232,019.

    Assistant Superintendent Paul Aschenbeck said the district must have reliable transportation, with as many as 11 buses used for out-of-town football games.

    Several older buses that are no longer functional will hopefully be sold, said Aschenbeck.

    “They don’t run,” he said. “We take all the parts out of that we can.”

    Source: Brenham Banner-Press