by KATHRYN DENTATO
The School Board is required to publish notice of and hold two public budget meetings before each new fiscal year. TRIM (Truth in Millage) notices are sent to property owners to inform them of proposed tax increases or decreases.
On July 28, 2020, Director of Budget Kendra Sittig and Director of Finance Joyce McIntyre explained the 2020-2021 proposed tentative millage rate to School Board members and discussed how the figure was determined.
To receive FEFP funds from the State, every school district must generate a minimum amount, or Required Local Effort (RLE), from taxes assessed by the County. This year’s RLE millage rate is 3.665, as certified by Richard Corcoran, Florida’s Commissioner of Education. This is 0.250 less than the previous year’s rate of 3.908.
The District’s Capital Outlay mill (1.500) and Discretionary mill (0.748) are added to the RLE millage rate. This year’s total is 5.913 mills. It is less than last year’s final millage rate of 6.163.
McIntyre said that the District must advertise this as a tax increase because the estimated final tax roll is higher than last year’s ($11,474,112,037 for 2020-2021 compared to $10,565,842,196 for 2019-2020).
There were no comments from the public or from School Board members. Board Chair Susan Duval requested a motion to adopt the tentative millage rates proposed by McIntyre and Sittig. This is required before the proposed budget can be discussed.
Board Member Jimmy Lodato made the motion, seconded by Board Member Kay Hatch. The motion was approved unanimously.
Sittig reviewed the overall budget figures, then explained each category and how it compared to the previous year. The total budget is divided into five categories: General Fund, Food Service Fund, Special Revenue Fund, Debt Service, and Capital Projects. The total budget is expected to be $314,352,754.
The final budget will be prepared for the second public budget meeting on Sept. 8, 2020.
Board Member Linda Prescott commended Sittig and McIntyre for their department’s consistently excellent work. The District’s finances are audited annually, and the Finance Department has won awards for the past 18 years, Prescott said.
There was no public comment for this discussion. Board members had no questions for Sittig or McIntyre. Hatch made the motion to approve the tentative budget resolution. Board Member Gus Guadagnino seconded the motion. The resolution to approve the tentative 2020-2021 budget was approved unanimously.
Prescott made the motion to announce the second public budget meeting for Sept. 8, 2020, at 5:01 pm in the School Board meeting room. The address is 919 N. Broad St., Brooksville. Guadagnino seconded the motion. The motion was approved 5-0.