Letter to the editor: JPS is not raising any levies on property taxes this yearWe seem to have some confusion about the property tax meeting scheduled for this evening and I hope that by writing I can alleviate some of the fears and reduce the confusion.
By: Robert B. Toso, The Jamestown Sun
We seem to have some confusion about the property tax meeting scheduled for this evening and I hope that by writing I can alleviate some of the fears and reduce the confusion.
First of all, Jamestown Public Schools are not increasing their mill levies for the 2011-12 school year. Not one mill. Administrators are recommending to the Jamestown Public School Board that our mill levy remains that exact same as last year, 161.4 mills. The meeting tonight is a result of a bill passed by the Legislature requiring school districts to hold the hearing if they are increasing their revenue from their mills. Most years the taxable evaluation in Jamestown increases. Our houses are worth more, our farmland is more valuable and our commercial and industrial property increases in value. As a result, we pay more in property taxes despite the fact that our mill rates have stayed the same. That is what the meeting on Thursday evening is about. Jamestown Public Schools is estimating a slight increase in income from property taxes because the assessed values in the district have increased, not because we are increasing the number of mills.
The School Board is charged with providing the best education it can for the students who attend our schools. Results indicate that we are providing an excellent education. Our teachers and administrators are dedicated. Our buildings are updated. Our students do well on state and national assessments and are successful after graduation.
The School Board needs to provide for that education by using tax dollars in the most efficient manner possible. We have accomplished that. Our budget has been balanced for the last several years. Average class sizes have been reduced. Right now, our mill levy to support our schools is higher than most districts. But that is a result of a decision by the community to build a new high school. We will pay that off in 2017, several years earlier than projected originally, and at that point we will reduce our tax levy by 21.4 mills. That will be a nice savings for all of us.
I would invite anyone who has questions about our tax levy to attend the meeting tonight. If you cannot, please call my office or stop in to visit and we will review our tax structure and hopefully I can help you understand what we do with your tax dollars. I look forward to the discussion.
Robert B. Toso
(Toso is superintendent of Jamestown Public Schools)