Lower tax rate increase expected

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School tax hearing to be held Aug. 30

By Stevie Lowery

The Marion County Board of Education is likely to increase the real estate and personal property tax rate, but at a lower rate than in past years.

The school board has scheduled a special called meeting for a tax rate hearing and approval for 5 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 30.

Superintendent Dr. Chuck Hamilton said he will recommend to the board that the real estate and personal property taxes be increased by .6 cents per $1,000 in property value. This is a 1.1 percent increase in the tax rate, which isn't the maximum amount the board could actually take.

"This is a lower rate than the board has normally taken," Hamilton said.

Hamilton said he's been listening to the community and is trying to be sensitive to local families in the community.

"We tried to find a place in the middle that will work for both," he said.

Board Member DeLane Pinkston asked Hamilton how much revenue the school district would lose as a result of approving a tax rate lower than the maximum allowable. Hamilton estimated the difference would be approximately $100,000.

Board Member Mike Cecil then asked how the district would replace that $100,000 in revenue. Hamilton said the revenue brought in by new property would help balance things out.

"The $3 million in new property helps make up the difference," he said. "This is kind of an anomaly... This is not one of those things that happens traditionally. That's why we're able to do something lower and yet not create a financial burden on the district."

Hamilton did admit, however, that he's been paying close attention to what other districts are doing, and most of them are voting to increase the rate by four percent.

"I'm watching and it scares me a little bit, not a lot, but the vast majority of what I've seen... most districts are going with the four percent increase," Hamilton said. "We will be one of the anomalies this year."

Proposed tax rates for 2013 are as follows:

Motor Vehicle          52.6          (same as last year)

Real Estate             52.8          (52.2 last year)

Personal Property    52.8          (52.2 last year)

Utility                     3 percent   (same as last year)