TIM SMITH/BRANDON SUN
Brandon School Division’s board of trustees conduct deliberations on its 2013-14 budget at the Brandon School Division offices on Tuesday.
If both the city’s and school division’s 2013 tentative budgets get passed as is this spring, a homeowner with a property assessed at $200,000 is looking at forking over an additional $134 on their property taxes.
Trustee Glen Kruck asks a question of Brandon School Division secretary-treasurer Kevin Zabowski during the Brandon School Division board of trustees’ deliberations on the 2013-14 budget at the Brandon School Division office on Tuesday. (TIM SMITH/BRANDON SUN)
Based on the city’s general mill rate increase of 0.98 per cent and a Brandon School Division mill rate increase of 8.5 per cent, the property owner assessed at $200,000 would pay roughly $17 (city) and $117 (school).
Val Rochelle, the city’s director of finance, said she was surprised to hear of the 8.5 per cent mill rate increase from the school division.
"The last little while, it’s been said to be 5.5 (per cent increase)," she said. "My thoughts were that they would bring it down, so I am quite surprised."
The city has to go through several more steps before the 2013 financial plan is finalized mid-April.
"We will have a public hearing on it, then it gets formally adopted and then there has to be three readings of the mill rate bylaw, which incorporates ours, as well as the school division and the province," Rochelle said.
After a full day of deliberations, Brandon School Division trustees approved $2,352,000 in new money to its tentative budget, or an increase of $117.25 for the average taxpayer living in a home valued at $200,000.
Board chair Mark Sefton said the trustees made some tough decisions paring down the more than $4.6 million in new asks to the $2.352-million figure — about 51 per cent of what was asked for was approved in the operating budget.
"I believe it is a significant reduction," Sefton said. "We believe we did the best thing we could for the students in the division."
In total, 32.2 new positions were created within the division, a little more than half of the 57 positions requested.
"That’s teachers, bus drivers, educational assistants, that’s someone working in our information technology department — that’s total bodies," Sefton said.
The 8.5 per cent mill rate increase means the mill rate jumps from 15.38 in 2012 to 16.68 mills in 2013 and Sefton understands that for some, the $117.25 per $200,000 home is a tough pill to swallow.
"There are people that would not have been satisfied with anything less than a tax freeze," Sefton said. "We know that there are people in a tough spot and we get that. The reality is we did the best we could to try to balance those concerns with what we see are the needs of the students."
He also said there are some who believe the increase should have been more and that it is impossible to know if the increases will curb any future increases.
Commercial property will see an increase of $423 per year on a property valued at $500,000, meaning a commercial property owner can expect to pay $9,114 per year when the provincial education support levy and Brandon School Division levy is combined on the same $500,000 property.
A public consultation meeting is set for March 4 at 7 p.m. at the Brandon School Division office, with the board voting on the tentative budget on March 11.
» Brandon Sun
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition February 20, 2013