The Journal Gazette
Wednesday, October 14, 2020 1:00 am

Tax rate at SACS expected to dip

Official says drop due to growth in assessed valuation

ASHLEY SLOBODA | The Journal Gazette

Taxpayers in Southwest Allen County Schools should expect a lower tax rate in 2021.

Mark Snyder, SACS business manager, didn't always think that would be the case. Estimates he originally prepared for Tuesday's budget hearing assumed a 4% growth in assessed valuation, but he learned late last week the growth in assessed valuation is likely closer to 7%.

Growth in assessed valuation – which can be affected by new housing developments and other economic development – helps lower the tax rate, Snyder said.

In this case, it lowered his 2021 tax rate estimate from about 88 cents per $100 of assessed valuation to about 85.6 cents per $100 of assessed valuation.

The revised estimate means SACS should have a “very slight decrease” in the tax rate for 2021 instead of a minimal increase, Snyder said.

The current tax rate is about 86.4 cents per $100 of assessed valuation.

Snyder noted the change in assessed valuation doesn't affect the district's budget estimate – $83,375,502 – or its maximum levy request of almost $30 million.

The board is expected to adopt the budget Oct. 27.

In other business, the board briefly addressed the 2022-23 academic calendar options. Students would start school Aug. 10 under both proposals, which offer different fall and winter breaks as well as different last days of school.

The district is collecting feedback from families on the proposed calendars through Google Docs. The board is expected to vote Nov. 4.

The board also heard a proposal to hire another computer specialist who would be stationed at Homestead High School but would help other schools as needed.

The 10-month position, which requires a 40-hour work week, would pay $13.46 to $20 hourly, depending on the individual's qualifications, said LuAnn Erickson, human resources director.

The district has one computer specialist per school, and demand for their services has increased due to the pandemic, Erickson said.

“A survey of elementary computer specialists shows they are performing duties, such as lunch room, car pool line, etc., that consume 38 hours among the six elementary schools,” information provided to the board said. “That is one full-time person.”

The board is expected to vote on the position Oct. 27.

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