RSU 73 budget could prompt increase in taxes

JAY — If everything stays the same in the proposed $18.9 million budget for Regional School Unit 73 for 2012-13, all three towns would see an increase in tax commitments for school operations.

The proposed budget would be an increase of 2.78 percent, or $512,546.98 over the current $18.4 million budget.

Coupled with a loss of revenue, including state aid and federal Jobs Bill money and declining enrollment, the towns are projected to raise a combined $1.06 million more from local revenue to pay for education.

The numbers still are preliminary because final numbers from the state on what each town will receive for state revenue toward education had not arrived as of Tuesday night, Superintendent Robert Wall told school directors.

The budget involves eliminating nine positions and not filling three positions people are retiring from. The secretary position at the Livermore Elementary School would be filled, Wall said.

The budget also proposes to reduce four full-time positions to part-time. The district is also not replacing an assistant superintendent position. The district is revenue challenged, he said.

The tax commitment for the towns including Jay is still reasonable for schools, Wall said.

Over time, the tax commitment has not gone up and up, it has moderated, he said.

If all stays as is with the budget and projected funding, Jay would see an increase of $940,077 to bring its educational tax assessment to $9.1 million for the next school year.

From 2004-05 to 2008-09, Jay's assessments each year for its share of the Jay School Department expenses was more than $10 million, peaking in 2004-05 at $10.6 million, according to Walls' data he said he collected from each town.

From 2009-10 to 2011-12 Jay's local share for education dropped to $9.75 million down to $8.16 million, which was the first year of consolidation for the current budget year. It is poised to rise for the 2012-13 year.

Jay has a high valuation due to the paper mill, Wall said.

Livermore's local educational tax assessment for its share of RSU 36, prior to consolidation on July 1, 2011, ran from $1.65 million in 2004-05 to a peak of $1.81 million in 2010-11.

It dropped for the first year of consolidation 2011-12 to $1.69 million and is projected to increase $56,464 to $1.74 million for the 2012-13 school year.

In Livermore Falls, the educational tax assessment peaked in 2004-05 to $1.8 million and fluctuated over the years to $1.71 million in 2010-11.

It dropped to $1.4 million in the first year of consolidation in 2011-12 and is projected to rise $33,179 to $1.43 million for 2012-13. The town lost significant amount of valuation in the 2011-12 year due the effect of the closing of the Wausau Paper Mill that straddled the Jay/Livermore Falls line. The bulk of the paper machines were in Livermore Falls.

The only portion of the school budget that the towns share is 6 percent, which is the amount over the state education funding model.

The towns each receive money for state aid to education toward the 94 percent of the budget that is within the state formula.

Jay receives the lowest amount of state aid of the three towns. The 6 percent of the budget exceeding the formula is proposed at $2.28 million.

That is offset by a combined credit balance of $1.03 million for the towns prior to consolidation. That brings the amount to be shared $1.06 million based on 2011 valuations.

Valuations make taxpayers in Jay responsible for a projected 72.73 percent, in Livermore, 14.83 percent, and in Livermore Falls, 12.44 percent of the average.

If nothing changes in the budget, funding projections and tax rates, owners of a house valued at $100,000 in Livermore, would pay $928.22 in taxes for education. A house valued at $100,000 in Livermore Falls, taxes assessed for education would be $971.05. In Jay, the same value house would be assessed $829.11 for taxes to pay for education, Walls' information indicates.

dperry@sunjournal.com

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Comments

 's picture

So much for consolidation

So much for consolidation saving any money. Now the taxpayers in Jay are paying more than 72 % of the cost of education for all the towns in the district.. Its a wonderful thing for the folks in Livermore and Liv Falls for sure. And they have one more vote on the school board than Jay does so whoope do. They get to spend the money and Jay gets to pay the bill. There is something wrong with this picture.

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