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School board raises tax rates slightly, also approves fee to compensate for delinquent taxes

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By Shannon Brock

Taxpayers will see the portion of their tax bill devoted to the Spencer County Board of Education increase this year as the board voted last Thursday to take a rate between the compensating rate and a rate that would allow for a 4 percent increase.

The real and personal property tax rates were set at 61.2 cents per $100 of assessed value. However, the board also approved a .3 cents per $100 of assessed value exoneration fee to make up for delinquent taxes in prior years. This brings the total rate up to 61.5 cents per $100 of assessed value.

For example, a homeowner with a house valued at $100,000 will pay $615 — that’s $15 more than last year, when the rate was 60 cents per $100,000 of assessed value.
Board members heard public comment from at least four individuals during Thursday’s tax hearing. Most said taxpayers were hit hard enough already and, though they want the county’s children to be adequately educated, they asked the board to consider as low a rate as possible.
“I’m not against the kids having what they need,” one speaker told the board members, adding that the taxpayers are suffering and said he believes many pay taxes based on a higher assessment that their home’s current value.
Another man addressed the board saying that after seeing the district’s legal advertisement in The Spencer Magnet, he was shocked to see where the money — from a potential 4 percent increase — was going.
“I hadn’t heard anything about new [athletic] facilities,” the man said.
The legal notice identified five areas in which additional revenue might be disbursed, including $12,432 to the cost of tax collection; $2,649 to the district’s building fund; $100,000 for athletic facilities; and $299,301 for career and technical instruction, college readiness and general instruction.
Superintendent Chuck Adams explained during the meeting after the public hearing that funding for athletic facilities might include a small athletic complex, which would have a concession, restrooms and locker rooms.
The top athletic priority, Adams said, would be the high school track. Spencer County hasn’t hosted a track event since Adams has been with the district, he said.
As far as increasing funding in academics, Adams said additional revenue could go to the summer enrichment and extended school services programs, as well as college and career readiness.