More than seven months since the earliest discussions began on the 2013-14 Aiken County School District budget, School Board members will cast a final vote at Tuesday’s meeting at 7 p.m.
Public interest in the budget has been minimal this year. Three people addressed it at a public input meeting in May; two people spoke on the budget during a public hearing at a Board meeting two weeks ago.
The School Board took an unusual approach in pursuing a modest tax hike. The operations budget is expected to go up 5.8 mills, a mill being a technical term used to express budget needs for school districts and other local government entities.
The Board members then decreased by 2.5 mills the debt service budget, which provides funding for new construction. The operations budget would go up by a net 3.3 mills, increasing taxes for businesses, rental properties and personal properties by $19.80 per $100,000 value.
Owners of primary residences do not pay operations taxes in South Carolina. Taxes on their homes will be reduced by $10 per $100,000 on the debt service budget.
The School Board meeting will be held at the District office, 1000 Brookhaven Drive in Aiken.
In other business:
• Board members will meet in closed session for a legal update on proposed contract negotiations related to the City of North Augusta’s Tax Incremental Financing (TIF) proposal. The City is seeking the School Board’s approval for tax deferments on a small piece of property in North Augusta.
That agreement, and that of the Aiken County Council, as well, would make possible the TIF mechanism and allow the City to pursue to public and private major economic development. The City has promised much larger revenue for the 15-year length of the TIF and more revenue afterward.
• Construction South Inc, has submitted a $349,000 bid – the lowest received by the School District for a paving project at Chukker Creek Elementary School. The base bid includes 40 new parking spaces in the staff lot and 1,829 feet of additional two-lane drop-off loop.
The project is intended to alleviate issues with parking and with bringing and picking up children at the school.
Senior writer Rob Novit is the Aiken Standard’s education reporter and has been with the newspaper since September 2001.