Board votes to keep collecting all taxes in summer

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By Jamie DeRosa
Entirely East Lansing

The board of education in East Lansing has decided to collect 100 percent of the school property taxes in the summer tax levy for the 2015-2016 school year. This keeps with the tradition that East Lansing has carried for years.

The idea of collecting all the taxes at once is different from the way things are done in some other districts where school property taxes are spread out throughout the year. Taxes, if not paid all at once, are generally cut in half and paid in two intervals, one for the winter, which has a deadline in February, and one for summer, which ends in September.

“The 100 percent summer tax levy benefits the district’s cash flow and thus lessens the need to borrow early in the school year,” said director of finance for the East Lansing school district Richard Pugh. “In addition, when interest rates are favorable the district can invest funds and earn greater amounts of interest than a 50 percent winter and 50 percent summer levy. Interest rates are horrible currently but the district still benefits from a cash-flow perspective.”

The city of East Lansing has been doing this for a while now.

“I believe the district has had a 100 percent summer tax levy dating back to 1994,” Richard adds. “The Board of Education makes the decision every year.”

This practice is something that neighboring cities around East Lansing use as well.

“Lansing does their school board taxes once for a 100 percent in the summer while a city like Holt does theirs during the winter,” said Morgan Cressman, a worker at the City of Lansing’s treasury office. “I would say most cities around here do that. It’s really just easier that way and helps the schools in the long run.”

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