School board proposes same levy rate for new fiscal year

by Kate Evans

The Morgan County School Board approved the same proposed regular school levy and special levy rates for Fiscal Year 2023 that they approved for the last eight fiscal years.

Their action took place at a March 15 special meeting.

Voters will consider the renewal of the Morgan County Schools special levy for the fiscal years beginning July 1, 2023 through July 1, 2026 at the May 10 primary election.

Tax rates

The proposed special levy or excess levy tax rates that were approved are:

Class I properties—16.08 cents per $100 of assessed value; Class II—32.16 cents per $100 of assessed value; and Class III and Class IV—64.32 cents per $100 of assessed value.

Owner-occupied homes in Morgan County are considered Class II properties.

School regular levy or current expense levy tax rates set by the state that were also approved that evening are:

Class I—19.40 per $100 of assessed value; Class II—38.80 cents per $100 of assessed value; and Class III and Class IV—77.60 cents per $100 of assessed value.

Class I properties, which are personal property used in agriculture, are completely exempt from taxation. Class II properties are owner-occupied residential and farmland properties.

Class III properties are commercial and all other properties located outside of municipalities.

Class IV properties are commercial and all other properties inside of municipalities.

Special levy

For a home appraised at $200,000 with an assessed value rate of 60% or $120,000, the special levy tax would remain at $385.92 with the proposed levy rates—the same amount that it has been for the last eight years.

The special levy payment is in addition to regular state school levy taxes, county taxes and also municipal taxes that would be applicable if a homeowner resides within the Town of Bath or the Town of Paw Paw.

What the special levy funds

If approved by voters on May 10, the proposed special levy will provide an estimated $1,972,105 for employee salaries and benefits; $1,252,438  for critical education programs support; $400,000 for facilities maintenance, security and operations; $300,000 for  capital improvements/repairs or purchase of property; $125,000 for  technology hardware, software, infrastructure, repair and training; $400,000 for instructional materials, textbooks, programs and equipment; and $45,000 for the combined support of the Morgan County Public Library ($27,000) and the  Paw Paw Public Library. ($18,000)

Morgan County Schools has had a special levy since 1958.

Projected revenue

If approved by voters in May, the proposed special levy would bring in $4,724,733 annually over four years at the same tax rates that voters approved in the May, 2014 and May, 2018 special levy elections-a 70% reduced levy rate.  That $4,724,733 amount is some $230,190 more than last year’s projected $4,494,543.

The regular state school levy is estimated to bring in some $5,586,232 in projected net taxes for Morgan County Schools for Fiscal Year 2023—some $272,161 more than last year’s projection of $5,314,071.

Projected revenue is minus allowances for uncollectables, exonerations, delinquencies and discounts.

The total estimated revenue from the combined regular school levy and the special levy is $10,310,965-$502,351 more than last year’s projected revenue of $9,808,614.

Assessed values increase

Total county assessed values   for Class II, III and IV properties and projected gross tax collections for Fiscal Year 2023 are $1,179,844,667, an increase of   $56,734,852 from $1,123,109,815, in Fiscal Year 2022.

Total assessed values for Class II properties climbed to $781,672,806 up $36,588,524 from last year’s projected value of $745,084,282.

Class III property values rose to an estimated $353,476,685-an increase of $18,853,366 from the Fiscal Year 2022 values of $334,623,319.

Class IV properties went up to $44,695,176, an increase of $1,292,962 from last year’s property values of $43,402,214.

Levy, budget process

School Treasurer Ann Bell sent the schedule of proposed levy rates to the West Virginia State Auditor’s office and to the West Virginia Department of Education for approval.  Bell also submitted the levy rates to the Morgan Messenger for publication for two weeks as required by the state.  The proposed levy rates are in today’s Morgan Messenger edition and will also be in next week’s edition.

The school board will formally adopt the levy rates at a special April 19 school board meeting. The reconvened meeting will follow the regular April 19 board meeting which will occur at 6 p.m. at the school board office.

A school board budget work session will be held at the Tuesday, May 3 regular meeting that will take place at for 6 p.m. at Warm Springs Middle School. The school budget will be approved for publication at the May 3 regular meeting.

A budget hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, May 17 for 6 p.m. at the school board office with the budget adoption set for later in the meeting.