The Miami Trace Local School District released the fourth and final part of its 2023 State of the District address online on Thursday evening.
This segment was centered around finance. Cari Wilson, treasurer and CFO for Miami Trace, spoke during this segment.
Wilson took over as treasurer on Nov. 1, 2022, after serving as the assistant treasurer beginning in 2018. Before coming to Miami Trace, she spent 10 years as the financial specialist in the Center for Achievement and Leadership Services at the ESC of Central Ohio.
“It has been an honor to have been chosen by the board of education, and I couldn’t be happier to serve this community,” said Wilson.
She then spoke about the finance situation at Miami Trace.
“The general fund is the main operating fund of a school district. School districts may also have other funds, which have rules reserving them for very specific purposes. These are called restricted funds.”
Wilson then showed a chart representing the revenues of the general fund at Miami Trace. According to the chart, expenditures exceeded revenues in fiscal year 2022.
According to Wilson, this pattern will continue and worsen if changes are not made.
“This has occurred for two main reasons: expenditures are increasing and revenues have decreased. Expenditures are going up mainly due to the rising costs of goods, services, and health insurance. Revenues are expected to continue at the decreased levels seen last year. This decrease occurred because the district lost a tremendous amount of property tax revenue in the form of two major changes. First was the sale of the outlet malls in Jeffersonville, when Tanger Outlets sold to Destination Outlets for $8 million. This sale created over $800,000 in lost tax revenue per year.”
She continued, “The second and most challenging change has been the continued application of Rockies Express Pipeline to have their property tax value reassessed. Their most current application for the 2022 tax year takes the value from approximately $110.8 million to just $60.9 million. This is a 45% reduction and represents about $1.3 million lost by the district. These unfortunate changes are outside of the control of the board of education, but planning and cost cutting has already begun. In fact, between March of 2021 and August of 2022 changes were made resulting in approximately $812,000 in savings.”
Wilson then spoke about how the new Honda plant will impact the school district.
“As I’m sure you are aware, Honda Manufacturing of America is coming to Fayette County. The board of education entered into a compensation agreement where Honda will receive a 30-year 100% tax abatement on new building improvements. In exchange for the abatement, Honda has agreed to an annual payment to Miami Trace in the amount of $750,000 with an annual increase of 2%. These payments are expected to begin in fiscal year 2027.”
She finished, “While the district’s financial position is not as strong as in past years, the board of education and administration recognize the importance and urgency of making changes now to avoid future overspending. Our solid history of fiscal responsibility and sound decision-making has created a carryover balance that has afforded the district time to adjust.”
Wilson ended the presentation by saying that anyone with questions about the information in the segment may contact the central office.