BOE Holds Public Hearing on 2022-23 Tax Rates
Posted 3:49 p.m. on Thursday, August 18, 2022
STANFORD — The Lincoln County School Board has scheduled a public hearing on 2022-23 property tax rates.
The school’s director of finance, Lee Ann Smith, discussed tax rate options with school board members at the Aug. 11 meeting.
The proposed 4% revenue increase would reduce the real estate rate to 52.2 cents per $100 of property value and the personal property rate would remain at 54.4 (cents) per $100 of property value .
The previous year’s tax rate for real estate was 0.532 (53.2 cents) per $100 of assessed value and 0.545 (54.5 cents) for personal property, which generated approximately $6.4 million dollars in revenue. The clearing rate would generate roughly the same amount of revenue, Smith said.
Smith recommended the school board take the four percent revenue increase, which would generate about $6.8 million.
“It would bring about $385,000 more revenue than last year, with a tax cut on our real estate rate. The real estate rate would actually drop from 53.2 (cents) to 52.2 (cents),” Smith said. “That way we would be able to reduce the rate but bring in more money than we made and we would consider keeping the personal property tax rate the same as it was the year last so that there is no increase in any area.”
Smith said a four percent increase in revenue would help fund salary increases.
“I know this is a priority the board has stated over the years: ‘We want our salaries to be on par with the districts around us’ and a way for us to reliably fund that each year is to take the 4% revenue increase,” Smith said. “A 2% raise costs us about $200,000. We did a three percent raise last year and that’s in the ballpark of $300,000. So you can see from the numbers I gave you, if we go for the four percent rate increase, we can pay another increase if it’s of a similar nature, next school year… »
The motor vehicle tax rate remains the same, Smith said.
“Just to mention the other tax rates, the motor vehicle tax rate stays the same every year, it’s at 54.2 (cents). Last school year we raised $1,000,099. The utility tax rate remains at 3.0 and last year we raised $1,171,000,” she said.
Smith said that compared to other districts, Lincoln County receives less revenue per student than most surrounding counties.
“The upper district is Danville and they collect about $6,300 per student in tax revenue…we’re near the bottom, we’re number six, we collect $2,651 per student in tax revenue. So if you look over there — Danville, Somerset, Boyle, Garrard, Pulaski — they’re all collecting more per student than we are,” Smith said. “I would like to keep in mind that if we want to compete with the districts around us, we have to compete with the income they bring in and that we would also need to bring in to offer things comparable to other district.”
Smith said these districts also have another thing in common: They’ve passed a nickel tax.
“If you look at the top districts that have the highest revenue per student, Danville has an existing nickel. Somerset has a nickel. Boyle has a nickel. Garrard has two nickels. Pulaski has a nickel. When you get to the bottom, Lincoln has no nickel. Casey has no nickel and Rockcastle actually added a recallable nickel last year,” she said. “I just wanted to point this out to show you the difference our tax rates can make. There are only a limited number of ways we can impact the money we bring in and the services we provide. can offer.
Board member Ricky Lane clarified to the public that the four percent increase can be used for salaries, but the revocable nickel is allocated to projects within the school district.
“Recallable nickel is a separate thing. It must be improvements in your facilities; construction and renovation projects. There’s no point other than that,” Smith said.
A callable nickel would not only bring in more revenue per year, but also impact the district’s binding capacity, she said.
“Our current surety capacity is $8.4 million. We are therefore currently in a position to guarantee $8.4 million. But if we were to add a callable nickel, it would increase our bonding capacity to $33 million. If we were to add a second nickel, that would bring us over $50 million,” Smith said. “So when you look at a school district that only has $8 million worth of projects we can tackle, there’s only so much we can do. Our hands are tied. But if you had to add a dime, if you were to get us to $33 million, that’s a few school buildings, that’s a lot of improvements we could see in our district…”
School board member Etta Meek said the first nickel tax could build a new elementary school and a second nickel tax could build another elementary school.
“If you go through the current facility plan for the district and add up all the estimated costs that have gone into it, that’s almost $50 million and it’s probably even more now,” Bruce Smith said.
The Lincoln County School Board will hold a public hearing on the proposed tax rates immediately prior to the monthly board meeting on September 8. The board will take action on the rates at the regular meeting.