Fayette BoE OKs millage rate, but warned revenues are iffy

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After being warned of a potential shortfall in local tax revenue, the Fayette County Board of Education on Aug. 15 adopted the 2011 property tax millage rate, set again this year at the maximum rate of 20 mills. You’ll get the bill this fall.

Of interest earlier in the meeting was the notification from Comptroller Laura Brock that local tax revenues could come in $1 million or more under the amount currently budgeted.

Brock in her statement noted that the local revenue portion of the budget adopted in June totals $88 million, yet the total collections based on a 95.5 percent collection rate would total $87.02 million, a difference of approximately $980,000.

The $87.02 million revenue figure is based on current tax digest numbers. Brock explained that the projections are preliminary and are subject to the actual rate of collections.

In some previous years the percentage of collections has been at a higher rate. Yet it remains to be seen what toll the lingering recession and another year of falling tax digest numbers will have on the payment of property tax bills.

But there may be more to the story. Current projected revenue totals for this year also include an estimated collection of $3.5 million in unpaid taxes currently owed from last year.

Brock said the $3.5 million figure was based on the previous year’s collection of unpaid taxes, adding that she had some reservation about whether the entire $3.5 million in back taxes would be collected this year. Anything less than the $3.5 million collected would add to the $980,000 shortfall.

Budgeted collections were based on the adopted maximum millage rate of 20 mills. The 20-mill ceiling can only be exceeded by a public referendum.

A breakdown of local taxes revenues showed $77,118,568 from real property, $6,401,066 from motor vehicle taxes and $3.5 million from uncollected taxes from the previous year.