By Ryan McKinnon/Bradenton.com
The School Board of Manatee County reviewed the tentative 2017-18 school year budget during a Tuesday afternoon work session.
The tentative $781,666,074 budget includes a slight decrease in the property tax rate, but the anticipated tax revenue will increase due to an 8 percent increase in property values.
“The 8 percent property value increase year over year is not sustainable, so that makes the increase in revenue in this budget atypical,” said district chief financial officer Rebecca Roberts. “I believe that Manatee is first or second largest property value increase in the state.”
The millage rate this year will be 6.608, a decrease from last year’s 6.92. A mill equates to $1 per every $1,000 of a home’s value. The first $25,000 of a home value is exempt.
A homeowner whose property is worth $150,000 would have paid $865 last year. Without any increase in property value, this year that same homeowner would pay $826 with the decreased rate. But with an average increase of 8.18 percent, the homeowner will pay $907 to the school district.
The district’s general fund, which pays teacher salaries and benefits, supplies and utility bills, will increase from last year by 4.69 percent. Capital revenue, which pays for construction and maintenance, will increase from last year by 12.94 percent, due to increased property tax revenue, impact fees and sales tax.
The district’s fund balance, a key metric used by the state and auditors to assess the financial health of the district, rose this year, from 3.4 percent to 4.8 percent.
During this year’s contract impasse between the teacher’s union and the district, district officials said they could not meet union demands because it was vital to stay above a 3 percent fund balance. The 2017-18 budget aims to maintain a 4 percent balance.