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North Lamar ISD trustees received a preliminary budget estimate of $21.2 million for the coming year at a Monday night meeting, but trustees will not consider a property tax rate until August.

“Having a June 30 fiscal year end is very tricky when it comes to the budget,” finance director Melissa Darrow said in email correspondence after the meeting, explaining the district adopts a budget toward the end of June but approves a tax rate at an August board meeting.

“The administrative staff is working diligently to have a balanced budget for our board of trustees to adopt at a special meeting sometime at the end of June,” Darrow said.

The current tax rate is 97 cents per $100 valuation with the entire amount going toward maintenance and operations because North Lamar has no debt and has not had an interest and sinking tax since the 2016-17 tax year. Compared with other districts in the area, North Lamar has the lowest tax rate.

Currently the maximum tax rate for the coming year is 93.45 cents, however, the rate could be higher when compressed rates are sent out by the Texas Education Agency, usually in the July/August timeframe, Darrow said.

To determine funding, Darrow explained the district uses a finance template provided by BOK Financial Securities.

“Once our average daily attendance and other pertinent information (including property tax values) are entered into the template, it estimates the local tax collections and state funding,” Darrow said, explaining from funding information trustees then set a tax rate.

Darrow echoed what other public officials are saying about the unknown impact of Covid-19 upon governmental entities.

“Of course, all states nationwide are worried about decreased sales tax revenue and rising unemployment rates due to Covid,” Darrow said, adding “the Texas economy relies heavily on the oil industry as well. Texas education state funding could definitely be negatively impacted.”

In other business, trustees at the Monday meeting approved new employees Cheyanne North, Meredith Felts, Barbara Uselton, Kaitlyn Milby, Courtney Malone, Ashley Hildreth and Brent Milby. Resignations were accepted from Hailey Sharrock, Jana Lampton, Thomas Cooper, Jennifer Rutherford and Cheryl LaRue along with the retirement of William St. John.

Mary Madewell is a staff writer for The Paris News. She can be reached at 903-785-6976 or at mary.madewell@theparisnews.com.

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