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School board opts against millage rate hike
Not the year to raise taxes
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Forsyth County News
Homeowners received some good news Tuesday.

In somewhat of a surprise move, the Forsyth County Board of Education voted 5-0 against making up a $1.67 million shortfall in the 2010-11 budget by raising the millage rate.

“We can absorb the $1.6 million without any detriment to the future and our reserve funds,” Board Chairwoman Ann Crow said. “It’s best to leave [the rate] where it is.”

While the proposed increase would only have raised taxes about $60 on a $300,000 home, the board agreed now is not the time for any increase.

It was at least the second year in a row that the board opted to absorb the shortfall through the district’s reserves.

But outgoing board member Mike Dudgeon said next year will be different.

“The numbers from the state with the [federal American Recovery and Reinvestment] funds going away ... next year is going to be the really, really hard one,” he said. “My gut feeling tells me that at this level, this is not the year to [raise taxes].”

Board member Tom Cleveland said the school board likely will bring the community in next year on planning for the future.

“We don’t tax just to tax,” Cleveland said. “We’re at the bare minimum now of what we can afford.

“We need to look at what’s strategic to keep our quality education in place, and then ask the community if you’re willing to fund this.”