Voters will head to the polls today to decide whether to approve restructuring the Eagle Mountain-Saginaw school district’s property tax rate to balance the budget.It’s also the first time Tarrant County voters must show photo identification at the polls under a new state law.Trustees called the tax ratification election after approving a maintenance and operations portion of the tax rate — used for day-to-day expenses such as salaries — that exceeded the maximum amount allowed without voter approval. Trustees also adopted a resolution to move 13 cents from the debt service portion to the maintenance and operations side, meaning that the property tax rate would remain at $1.54 per $100 of assessed value.The current maintenance and operations portion is $1.04, and the debt service portion is 50 cents. Those would change to $1.17 and 37 cents.District spokeswoman Kristin Courtney said that if voters approve the measure, the district will gain $650,000 in state funding that will be used to help balance the $139.8 million operating budget. If voters reject the proposal, trustees will have to authorize a budget amendment, she said.“We are among the many school districts that have been cutting budgets since the last legislative session,” Courtney said. “We are looking at making the most of what we have. This [the tax ratification election] is a tool to help us balance the budget.”She added that the district is growing and that it implemented a five-year budget plan for new schools and other improvements.
Elizabeth Campbell, 817-390-7696 Twitter: @fwstliz