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50J approves mill levy, sees declines in assessed values

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At the Dec. 6 meeting of the Delta County School District 50J board, board members voted to certify to the BoCC for the counties of Gunnison, Montrose, Delta and Mesa, $8,693,771 in net property tax requirements and an assessment of 22.656 mills necessary for the general school fund.

Last year, a little over $9 million was raised, and at its peak, the district raised almost $11 million at the same mill levy, said district financial officer Jim Ventrello. "So we're seeing a decline."

The general fund mill levy has been frozen by the state at 22.656 mills by the state for about six years, said Ventrello. That mill levy is applied to the assessed value of all four counties, which declined again this year. Most notable was Gunnison County, which is down about $11 million in assessed value in a portion of the county as a direct result of the downturn in coal mining.

In Delta County the assessed value was down about $4 million. "Some of that is the economy, some of that is related to Bowie (mine closure)," said school board member Pete Blair. The district anticipates another decline in Delta County next year due to the Bowie closure. As the mines ramp down and close down, the taxes take about two years to work through the system. "I think we'll see the bottom of that next year," and it will take about two years to ramp back up, said Ventrello.

The board certified $80,199 in property tax abatements, which are available for the district to collect this year. Ventrello said there are more abatements this year. The mill levy was set at .209 this year; last year it was at .003 mills.

The board also certified the bond redemption mill levy of 4.9 mills, which is required to meet the bond redemption payment of $1,880,274 in the coming year. That mill number can float in order to meet bond payments, said Ventrello. Last year, he said, the mills were set at 4.7, "So it came up a little."

Ventrello also gave the cash projection report. The district is 41 percent of the way through the fiscal year and revenues and expenses are on track.

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