School Board Discusses Tax Hike
MT. VERNON -- Monday night, the school board discussed the nearly 8% property tax hike requested by the Mt. Vernon High School superintendent. There was no open opposition from the public or administrators.
Mount Vernon High School has felt the effects of the recession. Superintendent Mike Smith says the district does more with less, year after year.
"We've been able to maintain teaching jobs, expand programs with basically the same level of revenue and expenditures," Smith explained.
Now, operating costs are going up. And administrators have to cover a $600,000 loss in state aid for 2013.
"We're in a position here in December where you really need to pass your levy," he said.
Smith requested a 7.91% increase in taxes, but because of a tax cap on existing property in the county, he expects to get much less.
"We know we're only going to get what we're entitled to get," Smith added.
Despite the budgetary concerns, residents of Mt. Vernon worry about extra taxes coming their way.
"My kids are grown. I'd just as soon not pay higher property taxes, but that's kinda the way it's gonna happen I believe," Susie Smith said.
"This is a new year so anything going up without us getting an increase in anything is going to make it rough for all of us," agreed Patricia Yates.
Smith defends the need for a tax increase. He wants to point out the new Mt. Vernon high school will be paid for out of bonds and it's not the reason for this hike.
"In the whole scheme of things we're not the highest in the county even with the new high school and even with this proposed increase we're not the highest," Smith said.
The school board ran out of time to approve the hike at Monday's meeting. They're expected to pass it on Thursday. The board will learn the final taxation figure in the spring.
Wind: 0 MPH
Humidity: 93 %