GCMS tax levy lower than last year’s

By ROSS BROWN
bluehavanaross@gmail.com


GIBSON CITY — Taxpayers in the Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley school district will pay a lower tax rate than last year.

A tentative levy unveiled to the GCMS school board on Monday night — and to be approved next month — calls for a 7 percent rate reduction, from 5.89 percent to 5.45 percent. In the past two years, the school district has reduced its levy from 6.43 percent to 5.45 percent — a 16 percent reduction in the levy.

Superintendent Jeremy Darnell said the district’s sound fiscal condition and financial management contributed to the decrease.

“That’s been from being aggressive for a couple of years in what we ask for and very prudent for how we use our fiscal resources,” Darnell said. “We don’t have to ask for as much, and the community doesn’t have to pay as much.”

Darnell said there is an increase in the estimated equalized assessed valuation (EAV) of the district for fiscal year 2018. The estimated EAV totals $130,886,371, a 5 percent increase from the previous year.

The total levy is $7,646,798.

“This is not asking for a significantly less amount of money; it just means that the assessed value in our district has gone up,” Darnell said. “We will be getting about the same.”

As for individual funds, Darnell said the district requested allowable amounts in its capped funds.

“We’re asking for what we’re allowed to ask for in the capped funds, and we also had some subtle reductions in Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund and Social Security,” Darnell said.

“Last year, we reduced our tort (levy) by $100,000.”

Other business
Also at the meeting:

➜ Darnell presented the board with a tentative meeting calendar for 2018. Darnell asked that board members note any absences they might expect in case he would need to make changes. Board meetings will be on the third Monday of each month, though Darnell said that four meetings would be moved due to varying circumstances. Next month’s meeting will be held a week earlier that normal — on Nov. 13 — in order to prepare the tax levy before the deadline.

➜ The board held its first reading of its new board goals. The first says the board “will promote the individualization of student learning for all students by investing in the advancement of intervention and enrichment practices.” The second states the board “will support the advancement of our facilities to accommodate 21st century learning.”

➜ The board granted a maternity leave request for Bethany Schweeder.

➜ The board approved Key-Shawn Girkin serving as a volunteer wrestling coach and Pat and Christine Harmet as volunteer band instructors.

➜ Board member Steve Swearingen asked about the low interest rate for the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund (IMRF), noting that it is only 0.00001 percent while most interest rates are much higher. Darnell said the IMRF is the largest fund for Illinois public schools and that the district’s money has been in that fund for many years. While Darnell said the question should be considered sometime in the future, he cautioned not to consider anything because “until we have some other financial obligations straightened out and cleared, I don’t want to move that into anything else because there’s things we could do in the future that could benefit us.”
 

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