hazard-herald.com

School boards set property tax rates

Cris RitchieEditor

August 23, 2012

HAZARD – The boards of education in the Hazard and Perry County school districts this month approved new property tax rates for 2013.


Taxes set by the Perry County Board of Education will remain the same after the board on Thursday unanimously approved the rates for taxpayers in the county school district.


Under the rate plan, for every $100 of assessed value of personal and real property, taxpayers will continue to pay a rate of 48.2 cents, the same as the previous year. Officials expect to generate $6.9 million in local taxes, said district Finance Officer Jody Maggard.


The board also had the option of choosing the compensating rate, which was designed to generate a similar amount of revenue as the previous year at a rate of 46.4 cents per $100 based on higher property valuations.


The other option was what is termed the 4 percent option, and is designed to generate 4 four percent more revenue than the previous year. Maggard noted that since property assessments in the district went up for the year, the board was able to choose the 4 percent option without increasing the actual tax rate.


“We actually did get to set the four percent rate,” Maggard said. “The good news is normally that would be a higher rate, but because the Perry County tax assessment went up, our rate got to stay the same.”


Even though the board approved the 4 percent option, the rate is not expected to generate more revenue for 2013, according to the legal notice the board placed in the Herald on August 8, which notes that last year’s rate generated just over $7 million.


The board also voted last week to maintain the sheriff’s tax collection commission at 3.2 percent.


Part of the duties of the sheriff’s office is to collect local taxes for the school districts, of which the sheriff is paid a commission. The school board can increase the sheriff’s commission up to 4 percent, and go as low as just under 2 percent of the total taxes collected.


In the Hazard Independent School District, the board voted on August 16 to approve a slight increase in the tax rates for property owners in the city school district.


The city board adopted the compensating rate of 53.8 percent, and added an extra 0.4 cents based upon exonerations, noted Superintendent Sandra Johnson, which brought the total rate to 54.2 cents per every $100 of assessed value. Last year’s rate was set at 53.9 cents.


Johnson said the district expects to generate $848,000 for the general fund on the new rate. And while it is a slight overall increase, she said the current state of the economy was a consideration when the board voted to approve the compensating rate.


“With our economy the way it is in Eastern Kentucky right now, money is tight and we did the increase in property taxes last year, and felt that it wasn’t time to do another increase,” she said.


Property assessments in the city school district also increased over the previous year by $2.9 million, from $196.6 million last year to $199.4 million this year.