School board sets tax rate on 3-2 vote

Posted September 5, 2018 at 8:51 am

Clinton County Board of Education, after taking some public comments on the proposed 2018-19 school district tax rates, proceeded to vote 3-2 to officially adopt the proposed rates at 45.4 cents per $100 assessed value on both real estate and personal property.

The combined hearing and special meeting was held last Thursday afternoon, August 30 at the Central Office.

The motion to approve the rates was made by board member Jeff Sams, seconded by board chairperson Paula Key board member Goldie Stonecipher voted yes. Board members Kevin Marcum and Gary Norris again voted no on the rates, which represent the state allowed four percent over the compensating rate.

The .53 cents on motor vehicle, three percent utility and tax on watercraft as defined by KRS statute remained unchanged.

The vote on the district rates was taken following the mandated public hearing, which saw only three people-two of which opposed the tax–make public comments and/or ask questions pertaining to the rate increase.

Dave Mackewich had a lengthy set of comments and questions which somewhat exceeded the three minutes per person time allowed per speaker but a couple of other residents agreed to yield some of their time for him to make his presentation.

Mackewich inferred that taxes were already too high and said that “everyone spends their money outside of Clinton County.”

He further referenced a recent drive spear-headed by Industrial Development Authority Chairman Jim Soma to petition to legalize the sale of alcohol in the county, saying the citizens of Clinton County had turned down Soma’s proposal that he felt would have created revenue enough to build a new (high) school.

Mackewich continued that people on retirement were having more of their money taken when taxes are raised and suggested the school district actually lower their tax rates by one percent a year for a four year period.

He also said the increase in the tax rate was an added tax on retired teachers, and suggested putting a committee together made up of school district and city and county leaders to try and come up with an alternative.

He said there should be more emphasis on raising revenues in the county.

Board member Marcum, who opposed the tax rate increase himself, blamed the state of unfunded mandates passed down to local school districts and governments, but added the local school district was one of the best in the state and had excellent schools and teachers.

Superintendent Charlotte Nasief also commented during the hearing that Clinton County still had the state’s 12th lowest tax rates in Kentucky, even with this year’s four percent over compensating rate increase.

Another local resident, Wayne Guffey, briefly addressed the board, specifically requesting to see proof of “where” the extra funds collected from the added taxes would be spent.

He continued that he did not have any students of his own in school but continued paying school taxes.

Finance Director Mike Reeves as well as other board members noted all expenditures were itemized in the school district budget, which is open to inspection by the public and is annually posted on the school district’s web page.

Reeves also noted the extra funds from the tax was needed for things like transportation and student services.

Walton “Chip” Haddix is the only other person to speak, and although not advocating the four percent over compensating rate increase, said he was still advocating a “tax hike,” the nickel tax, to help fund the eventual construction of a new high school, again inferring that if the board did not act by the end of the year, those matching state dollars may no longer be available.

Although the Clinton County School District has now taken the state allowed over compensating rate increase for at least two years in a row, they are not the only taxing district in the county to do so.

Most of the “taxing districts,” such as the library, Soil Conservation, health district, Extension Service, for example, have also taken the four percent increase over the compensating rate this year and in past years, raising extra local tax revenue for their specific entities.

Following the public comment period, the board proceeded to vote on the rates before turning itsattention to other items of business that were on the special call meeting agenda.

Also during the meeting, the board took the following actions:

* Voted to establish a 186 day certified New Skills For Youth Team Lead position.

* Approved the KDE (Kentucky Department of Education) District Funding Assurances for the 2018-19 school year.

* Approved an overnight trip for the CCHS Volleyball team to the All “A” State Tournament in Richmond September 13-15.

Superintendent Nasief also discussed evaluations, noting that a psychologist could be used to help some students get back in school.

After the board agenda was approved the hearing/meeting was adjourned.

Due to the nature of the meeting with it involving a hot button issue, the Clinton County Sheriff’s Department had deployed a deputy on hand for the session and following the meeting, board member Marcum thanked the sheriff’s department for its diligence.