Hearing set for possible school tax hike

The Clark County Public Schools Board of Education voted Tuesday night to schedule a tax hearing and special meeting for Aug. 31 to discuss the possibility of raising its real and personal property tax rates.

The proposal would increase rates to 64 cents per $100 of assessed value, from its 2016-17 rate of 62.2 cents, which is anticipated to increase district revenues by 4 percent.

The 4 percent increase is the maximum the board may take without needing a referendum. However, board members may ultimately select a rate lower than the one addressed during the hearing.

Bob Wagoner with OVEC Financial Services told board members setting the hearing for the 4 percent increase gives them more flexibility.

“Just because you advertise a rate does not put you in a position that you have to assess that rate,” Wagoner said. “You can do something lower than that rate, you just can’t do anything above that rate.”

This year, the district is facing a more than $400,000 reduction in state SEEK funding from the previous year.

The 4 percent increase is projected to produce $528,708 in net revenue after factoring in the SEEK loss.

The compensating rate for the 2017-2018 fiscal year is 61.6 cents, expected to net the district $110,000 in revenue.

Board member Scott Hisle said he supported taking less than the 4 percent increase, stating he ran on a platform of keeping taxes low. He provided a chart comparing the district’s tax rate to those of surrounding counties, where Clark County was the third highest.

Board member Gordon Parido, however, said it was also important to look at the rates in counties west of Lexington, like Franklin, Shelby and Woodford, because those school systems are more likely to hire Clark County teachers.

Parido, along with board members Judy Hicks and Ashley Ritchie approved setting the hearing for a 64 cent rate. Hisle and board chair Dr. Michael Kuduk voted against the motion.