Tuesday, September 2, 2014

School Board okay’s four percent tax increase

J-E News Editor
Webster County School Board held a special called public hearing on Thursday night to discuss a proposed tax rate increase with the public. Such a hearing is required by law if the board intends to pursue a four percent increase.

According to school officials, no members of the public were in attendance, so board members proceeded to their special called meeting to approve the district’s new tax rate.
By a unanimous vote, the board approved to increase the school district’s tax rate by four percent, taking it from 47.6 cents per $100 of assessed property value to 48.6 cents.
The new tax rate will generate an estimated $3,265,266.84, an increase of $168,067.56 from what the district made in taxes last year. A considerable amount of money, but it is still not enough to cover added expenses the board faces this year.
A recent court decision requires the district to pay $86,000 as it’s portion of a settlement of the Kentucky School Board Insurance Trust’s (KSBIT) debts.
The board is also facing the two percent across the board pay increase that the state legislature mandated last year. When the increases were introduced, it appeared that the state would fund those raises, but as time has passed, it seems that the state will only fund a small portion of those. These pay raises are expected to cost the district more than $200,000.
“I don’t have a problem looking at our constituents and saying that we have no choice,” board chairman Jeff Pettit said in the August meeting where the increases were first discussed. “The state has told us we have to increase salaries and isn’t fully funding the increase.”

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