COVERT — Covert Board of Education members have adopted a budget hoping for the best, but preparing for the worst.
The 2018-19 budget estimates general revenues of $9.01 million and expenditures of just over $9 million. Included in the budget is a repayment to New Covert Generating Plant of over $1 million.
The payment is the result of a state tax tribunal decision and subsequent court appeals that “went south,” Covert Superintendent Bobbi Morehead told board members during Monday’s meeting. The school district’s attorney, she said, has to verify that amount before the district releases funds.
The dispute with the then-owner of the gas plant began five years ago when the company appealed its tax assessment to the Michigan Tax Tribunal, which ruled in 2013 that the plant was being over-assessed. As a result, the plant’s taxable value was reduced by 60 percent.
Although Van Buren County and other tax units, such as Covert Public Schools, have been appealing the decision, the Michigan Supreme Court ruled the plant is due a refund from years 2010-11.
In May, the county board authorized refunding nearly $4.8 million in tax money to the power plant. Covert Public Schools’ contribution is over $1 million.
In other matters, Phillip Haner was hired as transportation and maintenance supervisor at an annual salary of $49,000 plus benefits. Haner, who is pastor at United Pentecostal Church in South Haven, has driven school buses for Covert for one year and nine years with South Haven Public Schools.