Three members of the Adair County school board provided the majority needed to approve a 4 percent tax increase that will be added to upcoming tax bills. Lisa Burton, Terry Harvey, and Mike Harris all voted in favor of the increase; Daniel Adams and Jonathan Gaskins voted against the increase.
“This is a tough call,” said Stephens. “My ultimate goal, regardless of this decision is that we walk out of here united in whatever decision that is made.”
Superintendent Dr. Pam Stephens addressed the board and recommended the 4 percent increase in revenue tax rate for 2018 during a PowerPoint presentation over the district’s data trends, bond payments, no control expenses, insurance expenses, budget expenditures and the uncertainty surrounding the Kentucky retirement system.
“As a school district, we have no other ways of bringing in revenue other than through taxes,” said Stephens. “We are trying to continue to get better and move forward and school systems aren’t about saving money, we are about doing right by kids and I believe that everyone sitting here tonight wants to do right by our kids.”
Pellyton resident Will Pilkington came to the meeting and spoke against the increase in taxes, citing that the extension district is also planning on adopting a four percent increase this year and if both go through with the increases, Adair property owners will see an eight percent increase.
“Don’t give yourself a pay raise and then ask me to pay for it,” said Pilkington to the board. “We already have a hospital and occupational taxes and there are no good paying jobs around unless you’re a doctor or on the school board. When does the tax increase stop? No one should live in fear of being taxed out of their home and to ignore financial consequences like this threatens to drive families out of this county,” said Pilkington.
The board discussed that the four percent increases will generate approximately $134,000 if the district collected at a rate of 100 percent. Last year the district brought in $3.4 million with the compensating rate and will bring in approximately $3.6 million with the 4 percent increase.
“The thing we need to take home from this meeting is that someone who owns a $200,000 piece of property should be able to pay $40 more dollars for the education of kids,” said board member Mike Harris. “If we were talking $500 or $700 dollars that would be different, but people who can afford to have more expensive property know that there are taxes that come with that. We are just talking about $40.”
By Adam Capps