Conservative budgeting and stringent control of expenditures has allowed Huntington School Board members to adopt a recommendation to set aside up to $6.05 million in four separate reserve accounts. When finalized in the late summer or early fall, the action will have the ultimate effect of holding down taxes.
Huntington’s external auditing firm, Cullen & Danowski, recommended the Huntington School Board pass a resolution describing how the un-appropriated fund balance will be reserved at the conclusion of the current fiscal year on June 30.
The June 5 vote by trustees does not obligate the district to reserve any specific amount. The exact amount set aside will be determined at a later date.
“These are Board-approved caps that are unlikely to be reached in all regards,” Superintendent James W. Polansky said. “The focus will remain on replenishing at least some of the capital monies that have been committed in an effort to maintain the district’s long-term plan for capital upgrades and repairs, as well as maintain particularly low district debt levels.”
While the overall figure is still just an estimate since the financial books didn’t close until June 30, the state comptroller wants school boards to indicate reserve fund allocations on or before the end of the fiscal year.
Trustees voted to reserve no more than $2 million in the 2013 building reserve fund (which was created by residents in May 2013); $2 million in the 2017 building reserve fund that was authorized this past May; $1.5 million in the employee benefits and accrued liabilities reserve fund and $550,000 in the Workers’ Compensation reserve fund. The amounts will be added to the existing balance in each fund.
The final amount reserved will be determined once trustees set the tax rate in September 2017. By setting aside money in reserve funds, the district uses current money to pay for various expenses that would otherwise require it to increase taxes and/or borrow money and pay interest for debt service.