Residents living within the boundaries of Bullard Independent School District will see their tax rate decrease during Fiscal Year 2019, as the district’s Board of Trustees approved a lower tax rate after hosting a public meeting Monday, Aug. 27, inside the BISD Central Administration’s Board Room.
The district’s tax rate for the 2019 fiscal year will decrease a total of four cents, from $1.67 in Fiscal Year 2018 to now $1.63, per every $100 of taxable value of homes within the district.
Of the new $1.63 tax rate, the district will continue to use $1.17 in its Maintenance and Operations (M&O) fund, while the remaining 46 cents will go towards the district’s Interest and Sinking (I&S) fund, or debt service fund.
During the 2018 fiscal year, all property appraised within the boundaries of Bullard ISD was valued at $1,483,586,497 and is projected to be valued at $1,550,204,520 during this fiscal year, a figure combining both Smith and Cherokee County property within Bullard ISD.
The average market value of residences within Bullard ISD is projected to be $212,987, up from the $202,609 value on residences last fiscal year, while the average taxable value of those residences is estimated to be $212,615, an increase from the Fiscal Year 2017 values of $202,609.
On houses valued at the average of $212,987, taxpayers will pay a total of $3,383.57 in taxes this year, and increase of $82.05 from last year.
Bullard ISD Superintendent Todd Schneider said with continued property growth values in Bullard, revenues coming into the district through property taxes will still allow the district to fund its plan to meet current and future bond payments.
“Property values in Bullard continue to grow and that revenue, at some point, allows us as the local school district to drop the tax rate and still make bonded debt payments,” said Schneider. “We’re funding ourselves enough to pay our bond payments on the path we need to for future growth, and hopefully reward the taxpayers, as well.”
Although the tax rate for Bullard ISD property owners has been high in recent years, Schneider hopes the community will respond well to the new lower rate and will stand with the district when the need for a new bond arises.
“We’ve been at the highest level we could be for a while, which was voter approved, but now we have the opportunity to reduce the rate some,” said Schneider. “Hopefully, when it’s time to go to the community for a bond based on our growth that we’ll be able to look back at times like this and say we were able to reduce it when we could, but now we need their support.”
Regarding bond capacity for school districts, Schneider said a growing school district needs a firm bond capacity base, but can lift the burden of high property taxes for its taxpayers whenever possible.
“There’s two different ways to fund bond capacity,” said Schneider. “Because we’re a growing district, we need to have a solid bond capacity; it’s just between balancing the idea of what’s enough bond capacity and what is maybe excessive. The board discussion was very positive about how do we make sure we provide bond capacity that’s adequate for the future growth and keep our tax rate at an efficient level for our taxpayers.”
Currently, Bullard ISD has an outstanding and unpaid bonded indebtedness amount of $66,185,532, according to West. The district also has an estimated $6.4 million currently in its maintenance and operations fund balance, as well as $550,000 in its debt service fund.
The new budget for the 2019 fiscal year for Bullard ISD includes revenues of $22,722,921, with funds of $12,583,100 coming from local sources, as well as $10,014,821 coming in from the state of Texas and $125,000 from the federal government.
According to Gloria West, Bullard ISD Business Director, the expenditures for the 2019 fiscal year will cost the district a total of $22,722,921, allowing the district to have a balanced budget. The three top expenditure items in the new budget include instructional costs at $12,306,355, plant maintenance at $2,974,900, and school leadership at $1,344,816.
“It’s important for us to maintain a balanced budget in order for us to maintain our fund balance,” said West. “The balanced budget gives us a sense of security; in case the state of Texas changes its funding or if Bullard ISD enrollment goes down, we have money for purchases that we can pay for immediately, without having to pay interest.”