Eanes and Lake Travis ISDs seek penny exchange

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Both Eanes and Lake Travis ISDs set tax rates for fiscal year 2017-18 and ordered Nov. 7 tax ratification elections for district residents to approve or deny an increase of each district’s maintenance and operations, or M&O, portion of the tax rate.

Eanes ISD

EISD lowered its total tax rate by 1.25 cents to $1.20 per $100 of valuation Aug. 21, a process Superintendent Tom Leonard called a “swap and drop.”

By combining a “penny exchange” (see sidebar) with a drop in the district’s interest and sinking, or I&S, tax rate, Leonard said the board is giving the community a chance to lower its overall tax rate while saving the district about $2.8 million per year. The savings would otherwise be subject to the state’s recapture system, he said.

Through the penny exchange, the board increased the district’s M&O tax rate by 2 “unrecaptureable” cents, or golden pennies, Leonard said. At the same time, the district’s I&S tax rate was lowered by 3.25 cents, decreasing the overall tax rate, he said.

“If residents vote ‘yes’ during the tax ratification election, their tax rate will be $1.20 [per $100 valuation],” he said. “If they vote ‘no,’ the rate will be $1.2125 [per $100 valuation].”

Lake Travis ISD

LTISD set its tax rate Aug. 15, maintaining its total FY 2016-17 tax rate of $1.4075 per $100 valuation. The district executed a penny exchange, moving 2 cents to its M&O tax rate from its I&S.

A successful election would allow the district to retain about $2.1 million dollars that would otherwise be subject to the state recapture program, said Johnny Hill, LTISD assistant superintendent of business, financial and auxiliary services.

“Whether you vote for the tax ratification or not, the district’s overall tax rate will remain at $1.4075 [per $100 valuation],” he said.

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Nicholas Cicale
Nick was born in Long Island, New York and grew up in South Florida. He graduated from Florida State University in 2012 with a bachelor's degree in writing and a minor in music. Nick was a journalist for three years at the St. James Plaindealer in Minnesota before moving to Austin to join Community Impact Newspaper in 2016.
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