By Will Johnson
Messenger Reporter

GRAPELAND – Property owners in the Grapeland Independent School District will be pleased to learn even though their property taxes are set to increase because of the passage of the elementary school bond, the tax hike will be less significant than first estimated.

During a meeting of the Grapeland ISD Board of Trustees – held on Tuesday, Aug. 15 – GISD Business Manager Bonnie Hooper presented the trustees with the 2017-2018 preliminary budget.

“The biggest change we have in there is (line item) number 71 which includes $450,000 in the new bond payment,” she said.

Hooper explained a few of the other changes from the previous year but indicated the budget remained relatively the same as the previous year, 2016-2017.

Board President Eddie Childress picked up where Hooper left off and said the numbers would be finalized by Aug. 24.

As the meeting continued, the discussion turned to the tax rate need to fund the proposed budget. The district’s current tax rate is $1.146 per $100 of property valuation. The tax rate is made up of maintenance and operations (M&O) taxes of $1.04 as well as interest and sinking (I&S) taxes of $0.106.

According to the Texas Education Association, the M&O tax rate provides funds for maintenance and the daily operations of a district while the I&S tax rate provides funds for payments on the debt that finances a district’s facilities.

Hooper and Childress explained while the initial tax increase was believed to $0.23, because of increased property values and a lower rate of interest, the tax rate needed to fund the 2017-2018 budget with the new bond figured in, would be less than first thought.

Childress said this year’s proposed tax rate would be $1.04 on the M&O and $0.28 for the I&S tax, for a total tax rate of $1.32. Originally, the tax rate was expected to come in at a total rate of$1.38.

A motion was made seconded and unanimously approved to set the proposed tax rate at $1.32 per $100 of property valuation.

The budget and tax rate for the 2017-2018 school year are expected to be approved during a meeting scheduled for Aug. 24.

Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at wjohnson@messenger-news.com.