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WCS sees value increase by $8M

by ANDREW CHRISTMAN - achristman@wabashplaindealer.com

For the first time in 15 years, the assessed valuation (AV) of Wabash City Schools has increased.

During a WCS school board meeting Monday evening, Business Manager Matt Stone announced the school district’s AV has gone up by $8 million, increasing the total from $198 million to $206 million.

According to Stone, this is the first time since 2003 the corporation has seen an increase in AV. The value capped at $332 million that year.

Assessed value is factored off property values within the corporation’s 4.5 mile radius.

“The huge factor that really hit was when the recession hit and places like GDX (Automotive) closed down,” Stone said. “I mean, now you have a huge factory that you’ve lost all of the AV because they just tore it down. There wasn’t a lot of growth at that time, but now I think you’re starting to see that turn around a little bit.

“For it to turn around and go up $8 million is just good for us. It sounds like it’s good for the city...something positive has happened and it’s turned around,” Stone continued. “Hopefully we see that trend continue.”

Stone cited several possible factors for the increase: Building remodels, new buildings and increased property values overall. He credits improvements made downtown, as there is little room for additional housing within WCS limits.

While City Schools will still be affected by property tax caps, the amount of funding received for the corporation’s debt service fund and the new operational fund, which will include the former capital projects, transportation and bus replacement funds, is expected to increase.

City Schools is still waiting to hear from the State regarding the corporation’s total budget for 2019, as state funding is a large factor in the new educational fund. The fund includes the former general fund and 20 percent of the operating fund. But despite this, Stone is optimistic WCS will see more money in 2019.