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Tatum ISD chief says Luminant deal will help keep planned bond tax rate low

By Christina Lane
Feb. 3, 2012 at 9:37 a.m.

Tatum ISD's superintendent said Friday a settled dispute regarding the property value of Luminant's Martin Lake Power Plant has allowed the district to determine the tax rate that will accompany a $29.9 million bond election the school board is preparing to call Feb. 13.

The district's tax rate accompanying the bond election is estimated to increase by 11 cents from the current $1.04 per $100 valuation tax rate, Superintendent Dee Hartt said. The monthly increase to an average homeowner would be $5.23 or about $63 per year, he said.

"In reviewing school district tax rates from a four-county area, Tatum ISD's tax rate is the lowest of all districts and would remain as one of the lowest with this anticipated increase," Hartt said.

The school board is expected to call a $29.9 million bond election at its regular meeting Feb. 13. The crux of the bond package is an $18.3 million three-grade elementary school to meet growth needs from Tatum Elementary and Tatum Primary schools. Other items proposed by a bond committee include cafeteria upgrades and career and technology education upgrades at the middle school; classrooms, band hall and ag complex additions, as well as career technology upgrades at the high school; a driveway extension and parking spaces at the primary school; more parking at the community park; as well as technology and transportation upgrades.

The Rusk County Appraisal Board on Thursday accepted the $970 million proposal from Luminant officials on the value of its Martin Lake Power Plant, but the matter won't be finalized until a judge and the energy company sign off on it. The $970 million value that Luminant suggested, and board members agreed to, is less than the $1.056 billion the board assigned to the plant near Tatum this past summer.

Pick up tomorrow's Longview News-Journal for more on this and other stories.



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