Monday November 30th, 2015 9:11PM

Hall Co. school board recommends millage rate of 18.49

By B.J. Williams News Director
GAINESVILLE - While the news is better than anticipated in June, the belt will still be tight for the Hall County School System this coming year.

School board members voted unanimously Monday night to set the millage rate at 18.49 based on a tax appeals report from Hall County Chief Tax Appraiser Steve Watson.

Watson outlined for board members the number of real estate appeals his office has handled to date, noting that his office has finished with almost 96% of the appeals that have been filed. That gave board members the numbers they felt they needed to recommend a millage rate.

Note: erroneously reported a lower completion rate in an earlier version of this story.

Based on the latest numbers from the appeals process, revenue collections will be 8.91% lower than the previous year.

Board Chairman Nath Morris said he had questioned Superintendent Will Schofield, seeking assurance that the system could operate sufficiently with the 18.49 mill rate as opposed to a full roll-up of 19.31 mills, a move that was contemplated in June.

Morris made the motion to set the rate at the lower level and the rest of the board approved the recommendation. Still, said Morris, the board will need to look at more ways to cut expenses in the coming fiscal year.

"We've done a lot of it [cutting], we've done some outsourcing, we've eliminated positions where we've had the classified insurance rates go up," said Morris. "It's been tough times."

Superintendent Will Schofield said while the rate is better news for taxpayers than a full roll-up, there's still not much wiggle room in the budget.

"In terms of our budget, it looks like we'll spend somewhere between $9 and $10 million of what's left of your $18 million reserve fund," said Schofield.

He pointed out that since 2008, when the economic downturn ensued, the Hall County School System has eliminated 140 positions while increasing enrollment by 800 students. He also said that general fund spending in 2008 was $217 million and the new budget places spending at $194 million.

A final vote on the millage rate will come on August 27, and while that is later than usual, Schofield assured the board there will be no financial penalty for the delay in setting the millage rate. He said that he and Hall County Commission Chairman Tom Oliver had discussed the delay and he was assured there would be no such penalty.
© Copyright 2015
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Couch names administrative team
Ahead of his scheduled swearing in Friday, Hall County Sheriff-elect Gerald Couch named his top administrative team Monday.
6:28PM ( 2 years ago )
Tech beats Southern California in Sun Bowl
Tevin Washington threw a touchdown pass and ran for another score to help Georgia Tech beat Southern California 21-7 on Monday in the Sun Bowl.
5:54PM ( 2 years ago )
Hall Co. officials launch health-based initiative for employees
Hall County officials believe healthy county employees will be of greater service to the county. With that in mind, they have created a health-based fitness initiative to provide free fitness training for county workers.
5:46PM ( 2 years ago )
Local/State News
Longtime Habersham County Clerk of Court Ernest Nations to be remembered
Longtime former Habersham County Clerk of Court Ernest Nations Jr. died Sunday, Nov. 29, following an extended illness.
3:52PM ( 5 hours ago )
Hall deputies arrest Nov. 21 chase suspect
A Gainesville man wanted for allegedly sideswiping a patrol car on Highway 365 a week ago was arrested over the weekend.
3:06PM ( 6 hours ago )
Man struck by car, killed on Athens Hwy. south of Gainesville
Charges are pending in a weekend accident that killed a pedestrian on Athens Highway.
1:34PM ( 7 hours ago )
Georgia's Mark Richt not done coaching, will listen to anyone interested in giving him a job
ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — Mark Richt remains interested in another coaching job and said Monday he will listen "to anybody who has interest in me" as he prepares for his final game as Georgia's coach.Georgia...
1:10PM ( 8 hours ago )
Flowery Branch man charged with Thanksgiving Day attack on juveniles
Flowery Branch police have arrested a man for a Thanksgiving Day assault on two juveniles.
12:49PM ( 8 hours ago )