District approves referendum planning
Fox Point-Bayside officials say $6 million over 10 years gives them flexibility
Fox Point - Referendum planning was approved Monday night by the Fox Point-Bayside School District which will ultimately bring a $600,000 per year, 10-year operational referendum before voters in April 2013.
Officials said the referendum should supplement the operating budget, and more importantly, fund balance, which has been dwindling after the district has had continued decreases in its revenue limit since the 2010-2011 school year.
Director of Business Services Amy Kohl presented a summary of historical and projected gross tax levies and mill rates (the amount of taxes a resident would pay per $1,000 of their assessed property value), noting that the gross tax levy peaked in the 2010-2011 school year and that the mill rate has generally decreased since its peak in the 1993-1994 school year.
The district is looking to levy approximately $450,000 more than its levy limit in the 2012-2013, using that money to pay for energy conservation projects, which are exempt from the limit. All things being equal, with the additional $450,000 coming out of the levy and $600,000 coming in during the 2013-2014 school year - assuming the referendum passes - the net effect would be a $150,000 increase over the 2012-2013 levy.
Without the referendum, Kohl's projections show the levy and mill rate decreasing over the next 10 years - the levy by about $800,000 by the 2021-2022 year, and the mill rate by nearly $2 in that same time frame.
Such a decrease in revenue over time, however, isn't what the district is aiming for.
"We have to look at maintaining our level that we're at right now," said Kohl.
As the district pays off debt from a previous referendum, the levy should decrease incrementally over time and remain nearly flat in comparison to current levels. A decrease in revenue, officials said, would be difficult to manage as operating costs continue to rise for the district.
"Our overall expenses are going up, two, three, four percent a year - the fix costs," board President Michael Weiss said. "I think (the referendum) gives us maximum flexibility without being a burden to the taxpayer. We're basically looking at a flat levy year after year."
"I think it makes an infinite amount of sense," board member Alice Lawton said. "I don't think there's any other solution."
With the planning approved, the district will work with its financial adviser toward a detailed referendum proposal.
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