Miscalculation could affect school funds 11/22/2013

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 22, 2013

Miscalculation could affect school funds

By Rupert Howell
South Panola School District may already need to look at tax shortfall notes to cover the upcoming budget as millage to be levied will bring in $714,000 less than the school district sought in its budget proposal according to District Financial Officer Suzanne Covington.

But Covington explained that the amount originally requested would put the district over the 55 mill cap for the school’s general fund. School officials plan to seek the difference in what the maximum millage would have brought and the current projection which would mean that the district will need to receive $204,000 rather than the larger figure.

Covington said there was a mistake at the county level that didn’t account for Homestead Exemption in property taxes which had budget funding figured at $183,618 per mill rather than the correct figure of $170,293 once Homestead was taken off taxable property.

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Although funding may be available this year through other sources, the decreased millage could affect future years’ funding school officials noted.

Using the incorrect figure of $183,618 also led upcoming tax bills to be figured with the school’s general fund being financed with 53.8 mills rather than the maximum 55 mills.

School officials may use a portion of a donation of $1.8 million from South Mississippi Electric Power Association and a tax shortfall note to make up difference of the miscalculation.
The fact that $30 million in appraised value came off the tax rolls this year when LSP Energy sold the local power producing plant to a non-profit tax exempt company has had school and county officials scratching their heads and holding tight reigns on budgeting.