School board adopts new rates
The Webster Parish School Board adopted new millage rates last night after Business and Finance Director Crevonne Odom went over changes in each district with the board.
"All the districts' millages are fairly stable and pretty much holding their own," she said. "The only case that wasn't so good was in Springhill, where millages were increased because revenue has gone down."
Odom attributed the significant change in Springhill millages to the loss of business.
"There were companies there that were paying taxes, that are no longer in business there so they are no longer paying property taxes," she said. "This past year we did not have enough revenue generated by millages, so they had to be raised to generate the same amount of money – otherwise debt would have been incurred and tax payers would pay more next year."
Odom explained at the meeting that if millages had been left alone, the loss of revenue would have rolled forward into next year's assessment.
"Less mills are required to make the same amount of money in some of the districts because property value went up," Odom explained. "If the millages had not been reassessed like they have, next year tax payers would pay more money to cover the loss of revenue generated by millages that would have been lost."
However, Webster Parish Tax Assessor has adjusted assessments so that WPSB revenue generated from property taxes is stable.
"Last year, we received $11.2 million from property taxes and this year we'll receive 11.3."
The old millages for 2011 are listed below, followed by new millages for 2012.
Minden District 6: 29.0 – 29.0
Doyline District 7: 33.0 – 33.0
Springhill District 8: 39.0 – 42.0
Cotton Valley District 12: 17.0 – 16.0
Sarepta District 35: 38.0 – 38.0
Shongaloo-Evergreen Consolidated District 1: 17.0 – 17.0
Dubberly-Heflin-Sibley Consolidated District 3: 17.0 – 16.0
Springhill Maintenance Tax: 7.12 – 7.09
District 3 Maintenance Tax: 25.37 – 24.05
Parish Wide Taxes:
Constitutional Tax: 4.18 – 4.08
Special Maintenance and Operational Tax: 6.08 – 5.94
Building Maintenance Tax: 2.89 – 2.82
Building Maintenance Tax: 2.61 – 2.55
According to the Webster Parish Tax Assessors office, bonding districts follow independent boundaries; they do not follow police jury or school board district lines. Any revenue collected in the bonding districts stays in the bonding district.
In addition to millages, revenues from three sales taxes are forwarded to the Webster Parish School Board.
The 1969 and 1996 sales taxes were approved by voters in the respective years. Both taxes call for a one percent, or one-cent sales tax on goods purchased in Webster Parish.
Revenue from these taxes is dedicated to supplement teacher salaries and other specific items such as school buses, computers and retirement benefits.
The board is restricted by the specific wording of the sales tax propositions as to what the revenue can be spent on, how much can be spent and when it can be spent.
However, according to WPSB attorney Jon Guice parts of these sales taxes passed by Minden voters may no longer be able to supplement some teacher pay.
"Act 1 requires school systems to draft new salary schedules by Jan. 1, 2013 and these new schedules must be (made public)," Guice said. "A teacher who is not rated as effective cannot be paid more the next year than they were paid in the year of the evaluation.
"The language that is confusing to some, and hated by teacher organizations, is the part that says 'a teacher's salary shall be full compensation for all duties required of a teacher in his/her position'," he continued. "This language does not prohibit the payment of tax supplements or an extra stipend for coaches."
The District 6 one half-cent sales can only be used and taxed in the Minden area for maintenance and construction needs. Anyone that shops in Minden contributes to that half-cent sales tax.
The District 6 sales tax of a half percent will generate funds for the 25 years following its approval (2029). The revenue collected from the District 6 sales tax is dedicated to maintenance specifically for Minden schools.
To view more information on Webster Parish Taxes visit www.laota.com or www.websterassessor.org.