CLINTON TOWNSHIP — Taxpayers in Clintondale Community Schools saw an increase in their summer taxes for 2014.
The increase was due to new requirements regarding how school districts pay back money borrowed through the State’s School Bond Loan Fund.
CCS went from 12.65 mills to 13 debt mills, which was a .35 mills increase to the district’s taxpayers. With the increase, the debt millage amount increases to $96,117 for the current year.
The debt millage is used to pay back school debt, including bond issues, and the school district was required by the state to increase its mills to attempt to ensure enough funding to pay back bonds.
The school debt is a tax levied by a local school district on all property to pay off debt. In order for schools to manage repayments of debt, the debt millage was increased. All the debt funds received go toward any of the school debt, hence how loans are repaid.
CCS Board of Education President Jason Davidson said the decision for the increase came from the state and not from the district.
“It was not a board decision. It was a decision the state forced on local school districts without the school districts having any options,” he said. “Their objective is to reduce local debt. It’s forcing districts to pay down their debt sooner.”
The state offers the School Bond Loan Fund in which local districts can borrow money from the state and then repay the money.
“We’ve been paying off our bonds as we should,” Davidson said.
According to CCS Business Manager Brandy Sandusky, MBA, CFO, the maximum millage the Michigan Department of Treasury can require the school to levy is 13 mills.
“The millage increase is assumed to remain the same from this point going forward at this time. The district will be correlating state requirements to district debt funding needs on a per-year basis to make any necessary adjustments,” Sandusky stated in an email. “The district continues to pay the bond payments that are due in May.”
Since taxes are set annually, CCS officials weren’t able to determine how much the increase will be per year per household in dollar amounts.
“There is no accurate method for the district to be able to provide how much each taxpayer is affected by the amount,” Sandusky stated. “Taxes are determined on a yearly basis, so it would be unknown for the following year what the impact would be.”