The Fayette County Board of Education did as expected Aug. 17 and voted to keep the millage rate steady at 20 mills again this year. The 4-1 vote amounts to a tax increase due to rising property values and will amount to a tax increase of $153 on a home with a fair market value of $225,000.
The 4-1 vote came with board member Barry Marchman opposed to the 20-mill rate.
Board member Diane Basham in her comments noted while the board is conservative and the year-end accounting comes with a significant sum of money in the bank, it is nonetheless important to achieve smaller class sizes and compensate teachers.
Basham said she could support a rollback next year once more information is known about state funding and property values.
Marchman responding to her comment said similar arguments were made last year, adding that the board is hoarding money again this year. Marchman earlier in the summer suggested that the board consider rolling back the millage rate.
Board member Dan Colwell weighed in saying, “I think all of us would like to lower the rate but now is not the time.”
Colwell said the school system is still faced with an unknown pertaining to the way the state will fund school systems, adding that the school board should continue to be conservative and be able to handle any surprises that occur.
The school board for the past few years has levied the state maximum of 20 mills. Yet the 9.52 percent increase in the fair market value of properties across Fayette County this year translates into what is essentially a tax increase since the school board, with the exception of Barry Marchman, was not inclined to approve a property tax rollback.
The increase represents the equivalent of a 1.739-mill increase to taxpayers.
The tax increase from maintaining the millage rate at 20 mills means that a home valued at $225,000 will pay an additional $153.03.