Property tax collections fall short for schools

Published 11:45 am Friday, July 29, 2011

Property tax collections received by the Vicksburg Warren School District from Warren County were slightly shy of the full amount requested as the fiscal year came to a close last month, district financial manager Dale McClung told the Board of Trustees Thursday night.

At the close of the fiscal year June 30, figures showed the district received $25,854,003 in district maintenance, homestead exemption and negotiable notes, about 98 percent of the $26,357,933 budgeted, McClung said.

Figures presented at Thursday’s meeting showed this past year of tax collections was the first since 2007 that the district did not meet its budget request from the county.

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“I’ll have to check with (Warren County) tax assessor to see why there was shortfall,” he told the board. “That was probably due to the economic situation that we are in.”

McClung said he hopes to make up the $503,930 difference by September.

“Any unpaid taxes on property they did not collect within this time period will be included in a tax sale in August,” he said. “We usually receive funds for that in September so that may offset some of the dollars that we have not received for current fiscal year.”

The past year’s request also was the largest in previous years, he said, thus the percentage received is distorted.

In 2010, the district received $25,906,395, or 1.09 percent over their request, and $23,920,767, or .52 percent over their request in 2009.

Property taxes are due by Jan. 31 and most of the taxes are usually received in the following two months.

In the new fiscal year that began July 1, the projected ad valorem tax collection was increased to $27,651,252, about 35 percent of the $79 million revenue budget.

Meanwhile, Superintendent Dr. Elizabeth Duran Swinford’s request to purchase a new computer program called BoardDocs at a cost of around $7,000 was not approved with split vote between the four board members who were present.

District 1 Trustee Bryan Pratt and District 5 Trustee Sally Bullard voted in favor of the program while District 2 Trustee Zelmarine Murphy and District 4 Trustee Joe Loviza dissented.

District 3 Trustee Jim Stirgus Jr. was absent for personal reasons.

“We’re not saying we don’t want this,” Loviza said following the vote. “We’re saying it’s a luxury item and in the second semester, we’ll probably be in better shape to know what we’ll need.”

The program is a web-based application that would allow the public to access district information including board meeting agendas and minutes. The implementation of the program would have eliminated a board meeting’s paper trail.

Swinford said she will take the request to the board again in a few months.