GFPS adopts budget with reduction in taxes
The Great Falls Public Schools board adopted their budget on Aug. 21 and it includes a reduction in taxes, based on current numbers.
The board adopted their budget based on their current taxable values from the Montana Department of Revenue, but GFPS, like the City of Great Falls and Cascade County, are awaiting more information about a potential tax revaluation for Calumet Montana Refining.
Depending on the Calumet determination, the district’s numbers could change.
The school board has to set their budget by Aug. 25 under state law.
So far, the district, like the city and county, saw a significant bump in newly taxable property this year.
“It’s historically the biggest increase we’ve ever seen in Cascade County,” Brian Patrick, GFPS business operations manager, told the board.
The newly taxable property is new businesses, new construction and property improvements, it is not the increased property appraisals for existing homes.
The increased taxable values means the value of a mill went up so the district has to levy fewer mills to reach it’s total combined budget of $115.8 million.
The taxable valuation increased in both districts.
The elementary taxable valuation for the current fiscal year, which began July 1, is $181,467,410, or an increase of $33,838,023 from last year.
The high school taxable valuation is $184,130,161, or an increase of $34,004,715, Patrick said.
For all budgeted funds, total mills for the 2023-24 school year are 207.07 compared to 246.72 last year, representing a 39.65 mill decrease in the total millage for all budgeted funds.
Based on current numbers, that are subject to change pending a determination on Calumet’s taxes, the tax impact to homeowners is:
- a $72.30 annual reduction in taxes for GFPS on a $100,000 property
- $216.90 annual reduction in taxes for GFPS on a $300,000 property
- $433.80 annual reduction in taxes for GFPS on a $600,000 property
Patrick said “there is some question right now what’s going on,” with the Calumet determination and that he spent most of Monday trying to get more information.
On Aug. 21, the Montana Department of Revenue told The Electric that their informal review of Calumet’s valuation was not yet completed.
Earlier this year, the board opted not to pursue an operation levy and to instead use about $5 million of remaining federal COVID relief funds to offset some of the shortfall and forgo levy this year.