Local News


Tax hike warning sounds again

By SARAH LUNDGREN The Brunswick News

Members of the Glynn County Board of Education say they might have to raise the millage rate to cover the school system's costs next year.

The board looked at the grim facts Tuesday during its finance committee meeting, which preceded the board's official session.

School board members warned last year that they might have to raise taxes but declined to do so when approving the budget.

This time, they might have no other choice but to raise taxes.

The new fiscal budget year begins July 1.

Glynn County taxpayers haven't been hit with an increase from the school board in the past six years, despite decreasing, state-provided funds on top of a list of other financial losses to the board's budget, school system officials noted.

Andrea Preston, superintendent of finances, presenting a general fund expense analysis to the board, said she feels the board has cut almost all that is possible to cut expenditure-wise.

"I think we've made a good concerted effort to making these budget cuts short of closing a school, but simply we have to look at the revenue side," she said.

The majority of board members were in agreement. In order to not compromise on programs and personnel any further, more focus has to be placed on increasing revenue.

"You can only cut so much fat," said board member Jerry Mancil. "We're down to the bare bones."

Preston agreed, stating there are no more 'big ticket' items that can be cut, though she would continue to look at expenditures closely, tightening wherever possible.

Preston produced a summary of potential changes that could be made in the revenue department, namely a look at what raising the millage rate would mean for the school board's general fund.

The summary listed several budget additions and reductions based on estimates, as well as state-mandated increases the board knows it will face in the coming year.

It also included an estimated 5 percent decrease in funds received from the local tax digest, as well as three potential furlough days.

Board member Ingrid Metz was the first to object to considering a millage rate increase, though she understands the funds have to come from somewhere.

The board plans to continue dicussing the potential tax increase. It also is considering ways to get the public involved in the discussion.

Last year's cuts included the closing of Risley Early College Academy.

* Reporter Sarah Lundgren writes about education and other local topics. Contact her at slundgren@thebrunswicknews.com, on Facebook or at 265-8320, ext. 322.