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With the strong possibility that local tax bills will not be mailed until mid November, the Grady County School System may not be able to pay its employees prior to the Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks this year as has been done in recent years.
School System finance officer Dan Broome said that the delay in the mailing of tax bills could result in some challenges for the school system in the final months of the year.
Broome said that Thanksgiving falls on the last week of November this year which may help as he balances cash flow.
“It will all depend on how tax collections begin to come in December,” Broome said. The school finance officer said that many people will want to claim tax payments on their 2019 federal and state income taxes, so many will pay their taxes prior to Dec. 31, 2019 even though local taxes would not be due until Jan. 20, 2020 if the bills are mailed by Nov. 20, 2019.
The Grady County Commission has been discussing delaying the mailing of tax notices until the result of the upcoming Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax referendum are known.
By having to operate a month with fewer or no tax collections, Broome said there is the possibility the school system may have to take out a short term loan. “We are not allowed to have short term debt past Dec. 31, so we would need to have enough money to pay off the loan and we could borrow additional funds if needed on Jan. 1. If we didn’t have enough to pay off the borrowed funds, we would be in violation of a state rule and we’ve never had that happen before,” Broome said.
Broome told the school board members he would do his best to manage the school system’s cash to maintain its normal schedule for the remainder of the year. “How much money are we talking about that we may have to borrow?” board member John White asked.
Broome said it would be difficult to predict at this point but likely between $1 million and $2 million.
“I hope you can find a way to maintain our regular schedule,” board member Teresa Gee Hardy said.
On Tuesday night, the board approved payment of the accounts payable totaling $511,367.38. The board also approved a spending resolution for the month of August since an operating budget for fiscal year 2019-2020 has yet to be finalized. The school board will meet on Monday, Aug. 5 at 4 p.m. for a budget workshop.
Grady County School Superintendent Dr. Kermit Gilliard reported that he and Broome, along with Chairman Jeff Worsham, had met with state auditors last week and the school system had received a clean audit report with no significant findings.