Tax Ratification Election set for Saturday
by PHILLIP WILLIAMS
Sep 12, 2013 | 1319 views | 1 1 comments | 24 24 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Voters in the Gilmer Independent School District go to the polls Saturday for a “Tax Ratification Election” on whether to change how local tax revenue is allocated—a move which school officials say would earn the district $205,000 more annually in state aid without raising the local tax rate.

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Gilmer High School, the East Mountain Municipal Building, and the Ewell Community Center.

The state’s new “Voter ID” law, requiring voters to show some form of identification, will be in effect, said the Upshur County Clerk’s Office.

Early voting for Saturday’s election ended Tuesday night. About 189 had voted early as of 9 a.m. Monday, said GISD Supt. Rick Albritton.

This is the first of two special elections recently called by the Gilmer School Board. The other, a $36.2-million bond issue proposal split into three propositions, is set for Nov. 5.

Under a quirk in state law, the ballot for this Saturday’s election says voters are deciding whether to approve an ad valorem tax rate of $1.31 1/2 cents per $100 valuation, but the board has already set the rate at $1.18 1/2 and it will stay there whether the issue passes or not, Albritton said.

The election is actually on whether to increase the part of the $1.18 1/2-cent tax rate used for Maintenance and Operations (M&O) by 13 cents, and reduce the portion used for Interest and Sinking (I&S, or debt service) by that amount.

The M&O part would rise from the current $1.04 to $1.17, while the current 14.5 cents portion for I&S would drop to 1.5. GISD said it can receive the extra $205,000 in state aid only by raising the part of the rate used for M&O.

Albritton said Thursday that approving the proposal would not set the tax rate at $1.31 1/2 for the 2014-2015 fiscal year. And if the change passes, he said, the school will still have a debt payment, but it would be made from M&O funds instead of I&S.

If all three propositions of the November bond issue pass, the tax rate would rise by 26 cents per $100 valuation, school officials have said.

The school district said anyone wanting further information on the Tax Ratification Election can contact Albritton at 903-841-7424, or e-mail him at albrittonr@gilmerisd.org.
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Jack Pool
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September 13, 2013
When would the 1.31 1/2 Ad valorem tax rat go into effect, if not 2014-2015?