Taxes could go up for some after School Board approves budget

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY – Homeowners could be paying a bit more in taxes to the Indian River County School District after the School Board approved its new rate.

The board approved increasing its property tax rate – known as millage – from last year in an effort to collect approximately the same amount in taxes. The new rate also includes a .25-mill increase for what the district calls “critical needs.” Voters in November will be able to decide if they want to allow the increase to stay next year.

Along with a vote to approve the new tax rate, the board voted to approve the budget – $307 million. The budget, despite the potential increase in collected taxes, is $18.8 million short of last year’s budget of $325.8 million.

Both votes were passed 4-1, with Board Chairwoman Karen Disney-Brombach dissenting. She explained after the meeting that she voted against the millage rate and the budget because they contained the “critical needs” .25-mill and the funds associated with it.

“I would have been more conservative,” Disney-Brombach said of cutting the budget so as to avoid levying the .25-mill option.

The .25-mill option is expected to generate about $3.6 million. Approximately $1.6 million of that money will be used to purchase textbooks, provide for a field trip for certain elementary school students to the Environmental Learning Center, and keep media specialist assistants at numerous schools.

The remainder will be set aside to handle any mid-year budget cuts the district finds it needs to make.

School District Chief Financial Officer Carter Morrison told the School Board on several occasions that much of the tax rate is set by the Florida Legislature.

During budget workshops, school officials said that keeping the millage rate the same as last year – at 7.596 – would make the budget even tighter, especially because the district does not anticipate receiving any additional federal stimulus dollars.

With declining property values, the 7.596 rate would have brought in fewer dollars than last year, they said.

At the new, higher rate of 8.25, the School District can expect to stay about even in its collection of tax dollars.


What the new tax rate could mean to your taxes*:

Scenario 1 – No increase to assessed valuation

Home Valued: $200,000Homestead Exemption: $25,000Taxable Value of Home: $175,000Taxes – 2009-10: $1,329.30Taxes – 2010-11: $1,443.75Tax Increase: $114.45 or 8.6%

Scenario 2 – Assume 10% decrease in assessed valuation

Home Valued: $200,000 – 10% = $180,000Homestead Exemption: $25,000Taxable Value of Home: $155,000Taxes – 2009-10: $1,329.30 (based on $175,000)Taxes – 2010-11: $1,278.75Tax Decrease: $50.55 or 3.8%

*Source: Indian River County School District

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