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School Board possibly looking at tax increase

For the second year in a row the McCreary County Board of Education may look to increase property tax rates.

In a legal notice published this week in the Voice, the Board has called for a public hearing on September 9 at 6:00 p.m. to hear public comments regarding a proposed 4-percent tax increase. A hearing is required when a school district is considering adopting the 4-percent increase, but it is not subject to a recall vote.

Superintendent Mike Cash said the notice was placed only due to the deadline school districts have to set their tax rates. The Board is expected to vote on the 2017 tax rates at their August 25 meeting.

“It will be up to them to decide,” Cash said. “I have not discussed this with them yet, but wanted to advertise the possibility of the hearing in case they decide to go with the 4-percent increase.”

The notice stipulates the 41.9-cent tax rate on real and personal property produced $1,743,497.49 over the past year, but Cash said the District is still finalizing numbers to see if the total amount raised matches what was projected.

The hearing is for the public to offer comments on a proposed rate of 43–cents on real and personal property.

The Board will have three tax options to consider: the compensating rate, which would generate about the same revenue as the year before; the 4-percent rate, which would generate about 4-percent more than the previous year; or a “nickel” tax, which would significantly increase revenue – but be subject to a public vote.

According to McCreary County School District Superintendent Mike Cash the increase of 1.1 cents per $100 of property if the 4-percent raise is adopted is expected to produce an estimated $176,000 in additional revenue over the previous year.

If the Board were to adopt the compensating rate of 41.4 cents, it would produce about $105,000 over last year. Due to an overall increase of the tax base, the compensating rate actually would be an overall reduction of .5 cents over last year’s tax rate.

Last year the Board voted 3-2 to accept the 4-percent increase, which was estimated to bring in an additional $69,000, which was earmarked to purchase four new busses for the District.

Cash stated the additional revenue raised by the tax would be again put toward transportation, noting the District’s bus fleet is aging and costs the General Fund an additional $550,000 a year for maintenance of the old vehicles.

Last year Cash informed the Board of his plans to try and purchase four new busses per year to bring the fleet up to date.

The 2.2-cent rate increase last year was the first significant tax increase by the Board since 2011.

The McCreary County Board of Education will meet in regular session on August 25 at 6:30 p.m. at the Central Office.

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