PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

August 13, 2013

PNGISD board will hold public hearing to discuss increased tax rate, budget

Erinn Callahan
The Port Arthur News

GROVES — The Port Neches-Groves Independent School District will hold a public hearing at 7 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 26, at the West Groves Education Center, 5840 W. Jefferson, to discuss the budget and the possibility of an increased tax rate.

The district’s interest and synching (INS) tax rate is set to increase due to a decrease in the taxable values, business manager Cheryl Hernandez said. In 2012, PN-G’s taxable value was approximately $3.1 billion. This year, that value has declined 6.63 percent, to $2.9 billion.

“It’s significant enough to where we have to raise the tax rate,” Hernandez said.

Hernandez said that a large part of the decline was attributable to the refineries in the district.

Hernandez said she is uncertain of how much the INS tax rate will actually increase. However, she said, the maintenance and operating (M&O) tax rate must remain at its current value of $1.04, unless the district goes to the voters and asks for the additional pennies to increase that value to $1.06. With elections approaching, that idea is on the table, Hernandez said.

“That is an option as we face increasing expenditures, and our revenue's not going up,” she said.

Raising the INS rate does not require an election, Hernandez said, as it is based off the debt owed by the district. Because voters approved bonds to build new school facilities and renovate old ones in 2007, 2008 and 2009, they were aware of a potential increase in the INS rate.

“They voted to approve this bond,” Hernandez said. “So along with that, they were aware.”

Email: ecallahan@panews.com

Twitter: @ErinnPA