San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

July 19th, 2011
Trustees propose no change to tax rate

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San Marcos CISD Trustees President David Chiu, left, and San Marcos CISD Superintendent Mark Eads, right, at a meeting on Monday. Photo by Sean Batura

SEAN BATURA
Assistant Editor

San Marcos CISD trustees, at their Monday meeting, unanimously proposed no change to the district’s tax rate for next fiscal year.

Trustees announced there will be a public meeting on August 15 at 6 p.m. to gather public input on a proposed budget and tax rate for (FY) 2012. Trustees must, by law, hold a public meeting on the matter before they can adopt a budget and tax rate.

“In these tough economic times, we’re glad that we’re not having to raise the tax rate to meet…the district’s needs,” said Texas State Teachers Association (TSTA) San Marcos Chapter President Susan Seaton, who attended Monday’s meeting.

The district’s current tax rate is $1.35 per $100 of taxable valuation. Trustees reduced the debt service side of the tax rate by two cents for this fiscal year because debt payments decreased. Trustees could not shift the two cents over to the maintenance and operations side of the tax rate without voter approval.

The district expects to balance its budget in FY 2012, though it may propose a tax increase, or significant budget reductions, in FY2013, due to an estimated $735,656 shortfall that year.

During Monday’s meeting, trustees voted unanimously to enter negotiations with San Marcos-based Stokes Construction Company for a contract to build a new education building, a greenhouse, and to conduct renovations to the high school.

“(Stokes Construction has) worked with the school district in the past, they’ve done a great job on your projects, they have three local subcontractors for some of the bigger trades on the project included within their proposal that they’ve turned in, and we think they’d be a good match for this size of project,” said Pfluger Associates President Brad Pfluger.

Pfluger’s company is the architect for the project and he was on the committee that recommended Stokes Construction to trustees. San Marcos CISD Superintendent Mark Eads, who was also on the committee, said Stokes Construction was among 12 companies who competed for the contract.

The project may cost about $5 million, said San Marcos CISD Assistant Superintendent for Business and Support Services Mike Abild at a budget meeting on July 11, before the bids came in on the project.

Pfluger said Stokes Construction, in its bid, claimed it can do the work for $3.675 million, which is only about $4,000 less than the next-lowest bid. The $3.675 million only includes construction costs. Total estimated project cost is $4,184,132, said Pfluger Associates Architect Brandi McDaniel.

Pfluger said the project may be complete by late July or early August of 2012, in time for the 2012-2013 school year.

According to Pfluger, the project consists of an approximately 12,800-square-foot career and technology education (CATE) facility, about 1,550 square feet of renovations to the high school to create an engineering lab, and about 1,173 square feet of culinary arts and horticulture-related facilities, which include a greenhouse.

The project is intended to enhance the new career academies program slated for next school year, and will provide facilities for courses related to building trades, vocational agriculture, culinary arts, and horticulture.

The district plans to pay for the project with funds from its $26 million reserve account and remaining bond funds of $2.5 million (about $500,000 of which has already been spent on engineering and architectural fees for the project).

San Marcos CISD staff expect state funding reductions of about $2.5 million next fiscal year and about $4.3 million for FY 2013. In order to avoid a shortfall next year, staff propose to reduce the district’s budget in FY 2012 by cutting $3,259,780 in expenditures. The largest budget cut is in personnel, though no one is getting laid-off, according to Seaton and district staff. Twenty-four personnel positions are proposed to be eliminated by reduction, absorption, and attrition, which will enable $1.3 million in savings, according to Abild.

School district staff propose an FY 2012 budget with general fund revenues totalling $56,376,389 and expenditures of $54,178,029. The district’s general fund revenues and expenditures this year will total $57,437,809, according to Abild. Abild estimated the district’s general fund revenues in FY 2013 may be $53,442,373, and its expenditures may total $54,178,029.

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