CENTRAL — Residents will pay lower property taxes this year thanks to the Central Community School Board’s decision Monday to forego about $350,000 more it stood to reap through reassessment of residential property.
The School Board vote 6-0 to freeze property tax revenue at its current level of about $4.2 million. Board member Jim Lloyd was absent.
Consequently, school millages are decreasing from 63.96 to 60.4, a decrease of 3.56 mills.
That means a Central resident who owns a $200,000 home, for instance, will pay $755 a year in school property taxes versus $799.63 if the board had voted to roll the millage forward — a difference of $44.63.
Unlike most school districts in Louisiana, which have suffered budget cuts in recent years, Central schools have managed to avoid cuts and have maintained a healthy surplus.
Superintendent Michael Faulk said growth in student enrollment has allowed Central to avoid the need to roll forward the millage. He noted that more than 4,300 students have filled out “intent to register” forms for the 2012-13 school year that starts on Aug. 13. That’s about 260 more students than Central had last school year, he said.
Louisiana assessors are required by law to re-evaluate all property in a parish every four years and 2012 is one of those years.
After a reassessment, millages are automatically rolled back so the taxing agencies receive the same amount of money as the year before, despite increases in property values.
But with a two-thirds vote of the governing board, the taxing agencies can roll forward the millage to the previous rate and receive the additional tax revenue, according to the state constitution.
In 2009, Central voters approved two separate property taxes for school construction, taxes that total 23.65 mills. The school system is using the tax revenue to pay bonds sold to finance the construction of a new $46 million Central Intermediate and Central Middle school.
Faulk said that he expects that the school construction millages will begin to decrease starting in 2013.
Ross Bogan, Central construction coordinator, gave a detailed update Monday on the two new schools. He said the two schools, located on the same 88-acre campus, are mostly finished, with a series of small items left to finish before the Aug. 13 opening of school.
The most-involved areas of work left are in the courtyard and the roadway connecting the schools to Sullivan Road, Bogan said. A second entrance from Devall Road is complete, he said.