USD 383 Board set to approve 2011-12 budget

By The Mercury

The USD 383 school board is expected to approve its 2011-12 budget Wednesday The $86.086 million budget includes a property tax levy of 51.625 mills. Those figures represent increases of approximately $3.7 million and 2.342 mills from last year.

The regular business meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. at the Robinson Education Center. Prior to the meeting, the board will hold a 6 p.m. work session to review the proposed budget and have a public hearing of it at 6:20 p.m.

For a residence valued during the upcoming tax year at $180,000 ($175,000 during the current tax year), property taxes would increase approximately $77 to $1,023.

The board earlier approved budget publication by a 5-1 margin, with Walt Pesaresi dissenting and Darell Edie not present.

The majority voted to provide more money to maintain schools, specifically setting money aside toward the estimated $1 million replacement of Amanda Arnold’s HVAC system. The proposal has a capital outlay levy of 6 mills, the highest considered by the board.

Pesaresi opposed the budget because he said it was too much of a tax increase, and due to concerns about the capital outlay projects.

The board can adopt a budget with a lower mill levy, but the votes do not appear to be there to do so. Besides Pesaresi, only Edie and board president Doug Messer have shown any interest in reducing the levy.

Messer said he voted with the majority for flexibility purposes, but could support a lower levy of 50.925 mills with a capital outlay of 5.3 mills.

Edie said he would also support that option, but it might be hard to change the board’s position after the initial vote. He said the board could still save money for the Amanda Arnold HVAC system by utilizing bond savings for some of the capital outlay projects plus other rearranging.

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