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|Parish school system maintains millage rates|
The Ouachita Parish School Board agreed Tuesday to hold steady on the two property tax millage rates it controls.
The school system expects the two millages to generate about $60,000.
"This will increase tax revenues a little bit, but not a whole lot," said Richie Garrett, business manager for the parish school system.
"That's not a lot of money we're talking about, but at this point in the game, with the rising cost of fuel and utilities, I feel we need this additional income to help stabilize our general fund," Garrett said.
While the parish school board agreed to levy the same millage rates in the coming year that it currently levies, the millages will generate more money for parish schools because the value of property in the parish is expected to increase in the coming year. Thus, the millages will generate more money.
Though the parish school board can set millage rates on two property taxes dedicated for parish schools, the Ouachita Parish school system actually levies three property taxes.
One is called a constitutional tax, which was set up for school systems throughout the state during the state Constitutional Convention in 1974. That money is guaranteed for the parish school system and placed into the school system's general fund. The school board has agreed to keep the millage rate for the constitutional tax at 5.18 mills.
The second tax is a 10-year property tax for general maintenance. The money generated by the tax also is placed in the general fund. It's used for any operational and maintenance needs of the school system.
Ouachita voters approved the property tax measure in 2002. The operational and maintenance tax will be levied through 2012. The millage rate for this tax will remain at 24.15 mills.
The third tax is levied to pay back bonds for the construction and maintenance of eastern Ouachita schools. That property tax is only levied in eastern Ouachita since western Ouachita Parish voters approved a sales tax to pay for school construction and renovations at western Ouachita schools.
When voters in eastern Ouachita approved a property tax for school construction projects, they set the millage rate by approving the property tax for eastern Ouachita schools.