School board sets tax hearing

In a special meeting Thursday, the Clark County Board of Education set a public hearing for next month to discuss setting the 2019 tax rate.

The public hearing is set for 6 p.m. Sept. 11 at Central Office, located at 1600 W. Lexington Ave. The board will vote to set the final tax rate in a meeting immediately following the hearing.

The board has to turn in its 2019 tax rates to the Kentucky Department of Education by Sept. 14, Director of Finance Aleisha Ellis said Thursday.

The board had to set a date for the hearing a few weeks in advance to allow the public to have notice and make plans to attend the hearing.

Chairperson Scott Hisle moved to approve at the following rates for 2018-19: real estate at a minimum of 62.2 cents per $100 of assessed value, and a maximum of 63.7 cents; motor vehicles at 53.5 cents; and a utility tax rate of 3 percent. The board will discuss these potential tax rates and set a final tax rate at the public hearing.

Hisle’s motion was approved 3 to 1, with board member Judy Hicks voting against the motion. Board member Michael Kuduk was absent and excused from Thursday’s meeting.

The hearing will allow the public to give their input as to whether they would support keeping the FY18 tax rate of 62.2 cents per $100 assessed value or if they would support a potential 3-percent or 4-percent tax rate increase to increase revenue.

The general fund tax levied in the fiscal year 2018 was 62.2 cents on real property and 62.2 cents on personal property and produced revenue of $16,997,320.85, according to the board’s draft advertisement.

A 4-percent revenue increase would be about a 2.4 percent tax rate increase which gives the board the potential to approve its maximum of a 63.7 cents per $100 assessed value tax rate. A 63.7 cents tax rate would add about $15 to a tax bill for a $100,000 home, Ellis said.

If the board cannot agree, the tax rate will default, and the compensating tax will be set at 61.1 cents on real property and 62.2 cents on personal property

Ellis said CCPS currently has a deficiency of $688,641 in part because of a previous decision by the board to increase salaries for CCPS staff.

A 3-percent revenue increase or 4-percent revenue increase would allow for CCPS to at least break even on its deficient funds, Ellis said in the meeting. The revenue increase would increase the tax rate and ensure CCPS wouldn’t pay salaries out of its contingency fund.

According to last year’s average, CCPS has a 97.23 percent collection rate which is deposited into its general fund account.

The board will advertise its tax rate public hearing in The Sun at least twice for two consecutive weeks per a Kentucky statute. In a draft advertisement, the board stated it would commit about $55,000 of its collected funds for building, $100,000 for safety and about $416,000 for instruction. These numbers are minimum commitments from its tax rates collections and do not limit CCPS spending to these amounts in these areas. 

About Lashana Harney

Lashana Harney is a reporter for The Winchester Sun. Her beats include schools and education, business and commerce, Winchester Municipal Utilities and other news. To contact her, email lashana.harney@winchestersun.com or call 859-759-0015.

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