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Franklin — Franklin Public Schools will keep its budgeted tax levy at a zero increase for the 2016-2017 school year, with a total tax levy of $33.4 million.

The overall budget for 2016-2017 totals $51.7 million, an increase from last year's total, which was $48.4 million.

"The goal is always to keep taxes as low as we can, depending on what happens with the money that the state gives us through state aid," FPS Director of Business Services Jim Milzer said. "This year we were able to do that."

He added that this is the second time in three years that FPS has been able to keep the tax levy at a zero increase.

Part of the reason FPS was able to keep the tax levy from growing was additional state aid. The district received approximately $1.38 million more than they originally expected.

This year, the district was also able to add around $1 million in budgeted property tax to the debt service fund.

"(Adding money to the debt service fund) pays down the debt in the future, and it lowers the amount of interest that the district is paying over the long term," explained Milzer. "So it saves taxpayers money in the long term."

Milzer estimated that this budgeted increase could save taxpayers as a whole around $500,000 in the long term.

Voters in the Franklin school district recently passed a referendum to borrow up to an additional $43.3 million to build a new middle school, which would be added to the district's long-standing debt. Overall, the extra borrowing is estimated to increase taxes 65 cents per $1,000 of a home's assessed value.

The effects of the referendum will not show up on this year's tax bill. Once the district begins construction next spring, Milzer said officials will have a better idea of where the district's borrowing stands, and therefore how that will affect the future tax levy.

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