Hutto ISD lowers tax rate, approves budget for upcoming year

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Hutto ISD board of trustees voted for the third straight year to lower the district’s property tax rate.

Trustees voted Thursday night to set the school district’s 2018-19 school year maintenance and operations, or M&O, tax rate at $1.17 per $100 valuation and its interest and sinking, or I&S, rate at $0.43 per $100 valuation for a total $1.60 per $100 valuation.

That rate is 2 cents lower than last year’s rate of $1.62 per valuation, and almost 7 cents lower than the 2016-17 rate of $1.6655 per $100 valuation.

Despite lowering the tax rate, the district estimates it will collect $4.78 million more revenue through property tax collection. This comes as HISD expects the total net taxable value of the district to rise 19 percent year-over-year to $3.2 billion.

Trustees voted on four separate options for the district’s 2018-19 I&S rate and decided to implement the $0.43 per $100 valuation rate, which the district estimates will generate approximately $19,000 more this year than last.

HISD Chief Financial Officer Glenn Graham stated the district will see a reduction in state funding this year of $1.04 million.

“Even though our state aid went down, our local effort went up more than that [loss],” Graham said.

Per a presentation shown to trustees Thursday night, Graham projects the district to increase its total enrollment number by 389 children.

Much of the discussion centered around the need to save taxpayer costs now while the district is in a position to do so. Trustee Phillip Boutwell stated HISD may not be able to continue lowering its tax rate if it necessitates a bond election in the future.

“I think it behooves you if you say, ‘We’ve kept it as low as we can,’” Boutwell said Thursday night.

The district approved a $5.13 million increase in expenditures in its 2018-19 budget, as well. Rising payroll costs accounted for the largest share—72 percent—of the expenditures. Payroll will increase 9.5 percent year-over-year due to competitive pay raises and additional staff costs.

The 2018-19 budget includes additional increased expenses for the district’s bus fleet and classroom technology, per district documents.

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Iain Oldman
Iain Oldman joined Community Impact Newspaper in 2017 after spending two years in Pittsburgh, Pa., where he covered Pittsburgh City Council. His byline has appeared in PublicSource, WESA-FM and Scranton-Times Tribune. Iain worked as the reporter for Community Impact Newspaper's flagship Round Rock/Pflugerville/Hutto edition and is now working as the reporter for Northwest Austin.
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