Dalton City Schools Seek Tax Increase

Reported by: Bill Mitchell

Edited by: Ashley Henderson
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Updated: 5/14/2014 6:49 pm
DALTON, GA. (WDEF-TV) - Dalton, Georgia is just now beginning to recover from the recession.
The 5-year old business slump left Whitfield county with one of the highest unemployment rates in the south, and local government short of cash.
The Dalton school board did not raise taxes during that period, but may have to do so now.

DR.JIM HAWKINS,SUPERINTENDENT ,DALTON SCHOOLS "What's happened is our student enrollment in going up, the local ...Through the recession..values have gone down...so the millage that's applied to that brings in less local money."

No elected official wants to raise taxes.
While some citizens may understand the need, there are others who will fight the idea all the way.
In the case of Dalton schools, tax revenues just will not support the needs of the district.
And, Dr. Hawkins says the state has not come up with its fair share of funds.

DR.JIM HAWKINS, SUPERINTENDENT "In the last 5 years, that's accumulated about 21-million dollars."

Since 2009, the district has reduced spending on salaries, supplies, transportation, and maintenance by 2 and a half million dollars.
But for the 2013-14 school year, the board had to dig into the reserve fund for 4.5 million dollars.

DR.JIM HAWKINS "We've cut all we can cut and we're still not back. With this millage increase we ..our teachers will still be short 8-days of pay."

THERESA PERRY, CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER "Our board has done a phenomenal job handling this economic recession. The fund balance has always been decent enough, we've not had to do any short term borrowing to make payroll.

The tax increase set by the board will raise the millage rate by point-655 mills.

For the owner of a 100-thousand dollars home, that would raise his tax bill from about 780-dollars to 850 dollars a year.

Dalton school officials plan a series of neighborhood meeting as required by law, before the regular board meeting on June 9th.
The meetings will be held at city hall.

Fiscal year revenues are estimated to be 65.4 million with expenses at 66.1 million.
Even if the tax increase does go into effect it will leave a 700-thousand dollar shortfall.
That would be taken from the fund balance this year.

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