FROM STAFF REPORTS
BURNET — Burnet school district voters can have their say in whether to cut the Burnet Consolidated Independent School District’s overall tax rate by 2 cents as soon as Aug. 8 when early voting begins.
Early voting continues through Aug. 21 at the BCISD Central Office, 208 E. Brier. Early voting hours are 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Aug. 8-21, weekdays only.
The BCISD Board of Trustees called a special Tax Ratification Election on Aug. 25. If approved, it would reduce the overall tax rate from the current level of $1.28 per $100 valuation to $1.26 while still generating an additional $600,000 for local coffers.
Under the proposal, BCISD would reduce the district’s interest and sinking (also known as debt service) portion of the tax rate from 24 cents to 20 cents but bump the maintenance and operation portion up from $1.04 to $1.06.
The interest and sinking portion pays the district’s bond debt. Over the years, due to good financial management and fiscal planning by the board and district leadership, BCISD has been able to reduce the district’s debt to allow for this cut in interest and sinking while still meeting current obligations.
This plan came about as BCISD became a Chapter 41 district, deemed “property-rich,” whereas its property values per student have reached a point the state of Texas will begin requiring the district to send a portion of locally generated revenue to the state for redistribution to property-poor districts. BCISD officials stated that the district will have to send $500,000 to the state in the 2018-19 fiscal year as its Chapter 41 (or Robin Hood, as it’s known) payment.
That amount will jump to $2.2 million for the 2019-20 fiscal year.
Under state law, however, district voters can allow BCISD to increase the maintenance and operation portion of the tax rate from $1.04 to $1.06 to capture two “golden pennies.” These additional 2 cents are known as such because the amount of revenue they generate ($600,000 this coming fiscal year) are not subject to recapture, so the entire amount stays within BCISD.
This, officials said, can help offset the Chapter 41 payments. To put that into context, BCISD Superintendent Keith McBurnett previously pointed out that the $2.2 million recapture payment the district will be liable for in the 2019-20 fiscal year budget could pay for approximately 40 teachers.
The Tax Ratification Election will appear on the ballot as a Tax Rate Rollback Election. The ballot will state:
“Approving the ad valorem tax rate of $1.26 per $100 valuation in the Burnet Consolidated Independent School District for the current year, a rate that is $0.02 higher per $100 valuation than the school district rollback tax rate, for the purpose of (i) decreasing the overall ad valorem tax rate from $1.28 to $1.26, (ii) decreasing the District’s Interest & Sinking rate by $0.04, and (iii) accessing additional local operating revenues.”
Voters will be asked to vote “for” or “against” the measure.
Go to burnetcisd.net for more information. Go to burnetcountytexas.org for voting and election information.