PNGISD voters could see tax ratification election

Published 11:21 am Wednesday, May 16, 2018

GROVES — Voters in Port Neches-Groves Independent School District may see a tax ratification election in November.

The district is once again facing a possible deficit budget — this time to the tune of approximately $4 million but if voters approve a TRE than the deficit gap would tighten up considerably.

A TRE is required when the governing body of a school district adopts a tax rate that exceeds the district’s rollback rate.

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“When you pass a tax rate over the rollback rate that automatically triggers an election for the voters to approve the rate,” Sheri Drawhorn, business manager for the district, explained. The maximum M&O (maintenance and operations) rate is $1.04 but we can add to it and make it up to $1.17 if voters approve it.”

The other part of the tax rate, interest and sinking funds, or I&S, deals with debt service payments on bonds.

There is an option to move 13 cents from the district’s I&S part of the tax rate to the M&O portion and not increase the total tax rate. The district’s total tax rate is $1.44441 per $100 valuation which includes an M&O rate of $1.04. If 13 cents are moved, the I&S would change to .27441 cents with the total tax rate remaining the same.

“The purpose is to get more money into our operating fund,” she said.

The district did this very same thing last year but wasn’t required to go to voters because it came at a time following a disaster, Tropical Storm Harvey.

While the issue is still in the discussion phase there is still a set timeline to follow: A TRE must be held 30 t 9 days after the tax rate is adopted and on a uniform election date if one falls in that period.