Jackson County officials are bracing for more severe budget challenges amid speculation that the property tax digest for Jackson County could dip by 10-20 percent following reassessments this year.
“Right now it’s really tentative,” noted Hunter Bicknell, chairman of the Jackson County Board of Commissioners. “There’s been a little work trying to estimate it and it looks like somewhere as much as 10 percent shrinkage for the coming year.”
As tough as it will be for Jackson County to absorb a 10-percent reduction, the situation is far worse for the county school system.
“If there is a 10-percent reduction, which is a definite possibility, the school system’s one mill would be reduced by about $162,000,” said Jackson County School System’s assistant superintendent for finance and information services, Jeff Sanchez, in an e-mail response to an inquiry. “The total loss would be somewhere around $3 million.”
“That’s huge,” commented Shannon Adams, superintendent of the Jackson County School System. “I hope they’re mistaken about it. If it’s true, it’s going to be a real disaster.”
If it happens, said Adams, the system will have no choice but to implement its third reduction in force (RIF – layoffs) in four years.
“If the county digest comes in like that, we will have to cut people,” he stated. “This is terrible news.”
Complicating the matter is that school systems are supposed to have their teachers under contract by May 15, but the tax digest won’t be finalized until mid-summer.
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