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School board to set tax rate

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Wednesday meeting likely to draw concerned business owners

By BEN CARLSON

The Anderson County Board of Education will make a second attempt to establish a new tax rate when it meets at 5:30 Wednesday night.

The district’s previous attempt to set a rate ended in a 2-2 tie, which means it failed.

During that meeting, board members Steve Higgins and Benita Young voted to accept a 4 percent revenue increase. Voting against it was board member Roger McDowell. Chairman Lee Hahn did not vote, which according to the rules by which the board operates, counted as a no vote, forcing the tie.

The board was supposed to have a tax rate set by the end of August, but the tie vote forced the board to schedule it again for this month.

At issue is how much local property taxes will go or down based on the board’s decision.

The board will likely choose between a 4 percent revenue increase or accepting a compensating rate that is designed to give the district roughly the same amount of revenue it received during the previous budget year.

The 4 percent revenue increase would result in the district’s tax rate going from $5.52 per $1,000 assessed value to $5.69, a 3 percent rate increase. That would increase the school district’s portion of a tax bill on a home assessed at $100,000 from $552 to $569. Doing so would provide the school district with roughly $500,000 more revenue than the previous year, bring the locally collected total to $8.15 million.

That amount is roughly $1.7 million more than the district collected in local tax revenue in 2004.

The compensating rate would actually lower tax bills while providing a slight increase in revenue for the school district.

The compensating rate would lower the school tax rate from $5.52 per $1,000 of assessed value to $5.48. That means a home assessed at $100,000 would see its tax bill reduced from $552 to $548.

As it did last year, the board’s willingness to increase revenue by 4 percent has drawn the ire of a group of local business owners who met last week in an effort to oppose higher taxes.

The group was scheduled to meet again Tuesday night, and was likely to attend Wednesday’s public hearing to explain its opposition.

The group’s meeting have been by invitation only.

E-mail Ben Carlson at bcarlson@theandersonnews.com.