SHEPHERDSVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Following the move by the Jefferson County School Board to raise property taxes by a penny, board members in Bullitt County voted Tuesday evening to raise taxes four percent. WAVE 3's Caton Bredar was at the meeting and spoke with officials about the decision.
With just one member dissenting due to concerns about the overall tax structure, Bullitt County was nearly unanimous in voting to raise property taxes by four percent. The hike works out to 1.5 cents per $100 of assessed value - roughly a $15 increase on a home valued at $100,000, which should result in an additional $1.6 million according to board members. Still, it wasn't an easy decision for board members to make.
"I think the majority knew this was coming, knew we needed this," says Board Chairman Sammy Allen. "And I hate to raise taxes. I pay taxes. You hate to put it all on the taxpayers, but this is a minimum fee, and our kids deserve it."
Bullitt County School Superintendent Keith Davis agrees with Allen and points to the county's ranking - 169th of 175 Kentucky districts last year in terms of revenue per student - as just one example of why the county needs the additional revenue.
"This isn't going to put us up to a level where we can put additional teachers in every school, which would be great if we could, but we can't," he offers. "The four percent rate is not going to make up for the inflation this year. It's just not going to. The state budget was terrible to us. That's all the money they had, apparently."
Davis points to the school's mission and vision statement, prominently displayed throughout the meeting, and reinforces the importance of family and community support as vital to excellence in education. He says the vote is an example of that support.
"The expertise to improve ourselves is within ourselves, we just have to start talking and looking at the problem and facing the brutal facts," Davis says.