The first of three public hearings on the 2020 property tax rate to be levied by the Fayette County Board of Education will be held Aug. 17. Though proposed to decrease from last year, the millage rate would represent a tax increase due to growth in the tax digest.
The Maintenance and Operation millage rate is proposed at 19.15 mills, which would be down from the current 19.25 mills. The decrease still represents a property tax increase.
Assistant Superintendent for Finance Tom Gray at the meeting reported that the gross tax digest increased by $363.1 million, or 5.44 percent, and with the net digest increasing $243.1 million, of 4.48 percent.
To avoid levying a tax increase, the school board would have to adopt the rollback rate of 18.654 mills. The rollback rate is the millage rate that would assess the same amount of property tax dollars as the prior year.
The proposed rate is 19.15 mills, or .496 mills above the rollback rate, a 2.66 percent tax increase.
The increase equates to an additional $63.49 increase for a homestead property valued at $325,000, and a $54.56 increase for a non-homestead property valued at $275,000.
The FY 2021 General Fund budget adopted last week totaled $228.84 million, with $105.8 million coming from property taxes and 1.2 million from motor vehicle taxes. The school board to balance the budget also used approximately $10.1 million in reserves.
Pertaining to the bond millage rate, the proposal would have that rate set at 1.18 mills, down from the current 1.271 mills
The school board will hold three public hearings on the millage rate increase. Two of those will be held on Aug. 17, at noon and 6 p.m. The third, along with the millage adoption, will be held on Aug. 24 at 7 p.m. All meetings will be held at the school system’s central office on Lafayette Avenue.
Nobody likes to pay more taxes, but at least this is going to something everyone will receive a tangible benefit from (rather than say to offset pensions costs). A strong school system increases property values for all. That said, I’m curious to dig into the source of increased costs (higher salaries, increased operation/maintenance expense) etc.
We need to hold the school system accountable for their expenditures, because at the end of the day, we will all benefit from a well run and successful school system. When I hear people complain about this increase, I try to think of the complainant’s perspective. However, even those retirees with homestead exemptions – who pay less in property tax than the rest of us, by the way – will benefit from their home’s increased resale values just like the rest of us… the ones who pay the full tax burden.
I’m thinking the school system is beginning to decouple from established communities. Proximity to good schools was once cause for valuation, but I don’t think it is a much now as years past. To think of FCBOE providing accountability is to dream. As long as we continue accepting their rationale for increasing budgets and vote against their efforts to spend as much as they can get, the dream will never come true.