Gillett Schools tax levy reduced

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School district annual meeting scheduled Oct. 26

Gillett Secondary School (Times Herald photo by Warren Bluhm)

The property tax levy for Gillett School District purposes will decrease by about 5.24 percent under the budget to be considered at the district’s annual meeting.

The budget summary, which can be reviewed in the legal notice published on Page A4 of this week’s Times Herald, calls for net total expenses of slightly more than $8.5 million, of which $2.234 million would come from property taxpayers.

Detailed copies of the budget are available for inspection in the district administrative ofice, 208 W. Main St., Gillett, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays.

Pauline Borgen, the financial consultant who helped prepare the budget while the district was between finance directors, told the school board during its Sept. 21 meeting that the long wait before the Legislature passed its 2017-19 budget hampered efforts to finalize the local budget, because key items like state-imposed revenue limits were up in the air.

“Our revenue limit controls roughly 90 percent of the revenues coming into the district, basically being your state equalization aid and your tax levy,” Borgen said.

The board needed a special meeting Oct. 3, once the state numbers were more clear, before the budget could be completed.

Borgen told the board that Gillett has a healthy fund balance that enables the district to operate without short-term borrowing.

“If your fund balance goes too low, you will have to do short-term borrowing,” she said. “What’s that mean? You’re going to go to the bank, you’re going to borrow money, now you’re going to have another item on your books that’s called interest.”

Gillett won’t need to borrow this year to maintain cash flow, but Superintendent Todd Carlson and the new finance manager will need to monitor that carefully, Borgen said.

School district fiscal years begin July 1, but state aid isn’t distributed until September and later, and property tax payments arrive in February, so districts need to have enough cash on hand to cover payroll, bills and contingencies.

The public hearing for the 2017-18 Gillett School District budget and the district’s annual meeting are scheduled for 8 p.m. Oct. 26 in the secondary school commons, 208 W. Main St., Gillett.