Luttrell Outlines Revenue Path to Near $35 Million New Schools Money

By Bill Dries

Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell is proposing a $4.38 county property tax rate for the new fiscal year that begins July 1. That along with several other fiscal moves would give the consolidated school system the nearly $35 million in extra funding in the school system’s still tentative budget.

Luttrell presented his proposal to Shelby County commissioners Wednesday, May 15, during committee sessions.

The other elements of the proposal include increased revenue projections for the new fiscal year of $11.6 million. The new revenue projections mean producing the same amount of revenue for county government after the 2013 property reappraisal will take about three cents off the 33 cents on the property tax rate that Luttrell and commissioners originally estimated.

The administration, working with Shelby County Trustee David Lenoir and Shelby County Assessor Cheyenne Johnson, brought down the certified tax rate based on a normal 93 percent collection rate by the Trustee's office in the first year after a reappraisal.

That 93 percent with a certified tax rate of $4.32 came to $695 million in revenue in the revised numbers, the same amount of revenue the county gets with the current $4.02 tax rate. The upward revenue estimate leaves $11.6 million in extra revenue not included in Luttrell's original budget proposal.

Luttrell proposed Wednesday that the extra $11.6 million in county revenue projected to go to the schools budget. And another $10 million from a six-cent increase on the property tax rate above the estimated recertified tax rate would also go to the schools.

Luttrell is also advocating that the school board approve $5 million to $7 million from its reserves funds for the rest.

“With their reaching into their fund balance, added to the adjustments that we’ve just outlined, would give them close to the $35 million,” Luttrell said.

The countywide school board meets Thursday at 1 p.m. to vote on a budget proposal that goes to the county commission for funding. The first stop for the budget proposal will be the county commission’s budget committee on May 22.