Fayette E-SPLOST revenues may drop 20%

It was no surprise to hear Fayette County School System Comptroller Laura Brock tell the Fayette County Board of Education July 19 that 1-cent education sales tax (ESPLOST) revenues being collected could fall short of the $115 million collection ceiling by the end of the collection period.

Considering the ongoing local recession, those revenues could generate more like $92 million, a 20 percent fall-off.

The school system is approaching two and a half years into the five-year collection cycle. Passed by voters in November 2008 and with collections beginning in the spring of 2009, the ESPLOST has a maximum collection ceiling of $115 million.

Brock at the July 19 meeting told board members that collections as of June 30 totaled $39.874 million along with $19,738 in interest from FY 2009-2010 and an estimated $29,516 in interest income for FY 2011.

“Receipts haven’t picked up,” Brock said. Monthly collections during the past 12 months averaged approximately $1.56 million.

Asked about the total amount that might be collected during the five-year period, Brock said that total could reach $92 million, noting that the current estimate had been downgraded from the $102 million total that had been anticipated only a year ago.

Responding to questions from the board, Brock said it does not appear at this point that any of numerous expenditures from the collections will be in jeopardy, adding that some of the purchases might have to be scaled back.

ESPLOST funds are designated for technology, debt service, security, textbook purchases, facility improvements and bus purchases.