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Danville Schools tax hearing set for Tuesday

The Danville Schools Board of Education has scheduled a public hearing on the district’s property tax rates for 6 p.m. Tuesday.

Like every taxing district, the Danville Independent School District is required to set its property tax rates annually. Under state law, taxing districts can keep their rates the same; lower them; take a “compensating rate” designed to bring in roughly the same amount of revenue as the previous year; or increase rates to bring in up to 4 percent additional revenue.

Any increase beyond the compensating rate requires a taxing district to hold a public hearing. If a district attempts to increase its property tax revenues by more than 4 percent, that decision is subject to a potential voter recall.

At its regular August meeting, the Danville school board discussed options including the compensating rate plus “exonerations” allowed by the Kentucky Department of Education; no change in the rates; a 2-percent revenue increase; and a 4-percent revenue increase.

Danville taxed real estate property owners in the school district 94.5 cents for every $100 of property value last year. That means a homeowner with a $100,000 home paid $945 in school property taxes.

The compensating rate this year would actually be lower — 94.1 cents per $100 of value. That’s because total assessed property value in the district went up by about $10 million, Finance Officer Paul Dean said at the August meeting.

If the board took the compensating rate plus .5 cents in exonerations, the rate would be 94.6 cents, representing a $1 increase for the property owner with a $100,000 home, according to a tax rate worksheet prepared by Dean.

If the board chose a 2-percent increase in revenue, the rate would be 96 cents per $100 of value, representing an increase of $15 on the $100,000 home. If the board chose the maximum 4-percent revenue increase, the rate would be 97.8 cents per $100, representing an additional $33 in tax on the $100,000 home.

The agenda for Tuesday’s 6 p.m. public hearing begins with a “2018 tax rate discussion” by Dean. The board will listen to public comments before voting on the 2018 tax rates.

School board members Steve Becker, Paige Matthews, Lori Finke and Susan Matherly all spoke critically of a 4-percent revenue increase during their August meeting. Becker and Matthews both said they are opposed to an increase given the balance of the district’s general fund (more than $4 million); Finke and Matherly have both said if they were to vote for any increase, it would be a small one, not the maximum 4 percent.

Board member Troy McCowan did not comment during the tax-rate discussion at the August meeting.

Superintendent Tammy Shelton and Dean told board members while the school’s general fund is in good shape right now, it is down about $250,000 since last year and further plans for capital improvements could further deplete reserves.

“Yes, currently, as of today, we are in a very good spot,” Shelton said during the August meeting. “But over the next 12-24 months, we actually are not going to be in a good spot.”

The Boyle County Board of Education voted Thursday to take the compensating rate for its property taxes, after hearing from multiple members of a group who signed a petition opposing any increase.

IF YOU GO

The Danville Schools Board of Education will hold a special called meeting at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 5, at Danville High School. The board will hear a presentation on 2018 property taxes from Director of Finance Paul Dean, listen to public comments, and then vote on its 2018 property tax rates.