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Tax refund: Conway taxpayers get money back

September 25. 2017 9:07PM

Faced with an unusual situation, members of the Conway School Board did the unthinkable.

They returned unspent money to local taxpayers.

The district ended the 2016-2017 school year with a surplus of nearly $1.8 million, which came from higher than anticipated revenues, lower than planned spending, and a balance from the prior year. That money is going to lower this year’s taxes.

The board also voted to reduce the amount of excess cash it is keeping as an emergency reserve. Such rainy day funds are important. School board member Mark Hounsell pointed out that the board had never tapped into the reserve fund, and that setting $215,000 aside should be sufficient.

That means an additional $215,000 is going back to taxpayers.

Conway voters have been generous to the school district, approving a new contract with teachers and $4.1 million in bonds for school heating and ventilation systems. Sending the surplus back to taxpayers should increase confidence that the board is spending their money responsibly.

When governments collect more than they need, taxpayers should get a refund. Elected officials could always find something to spend it on. That doesn’t mean they should.

Editorial Local and County Government

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