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Special EIS building tax will not return

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By Heather Hagedorn

 

Eminence Independent Schools settled on a fiscal year 2014-15 budget, according to Superintendent Buddy Berry.  The board of education will seek a four-percent increase in tax revenue, but will not repeat the special building tax collected last year. 

“We do a draft budget in January, a tentative one in May and a working one in October. The working budget is our finalized one, which hardly changes from the one in May.”

“We are seeking a 76.8 cent rate out of every $100 of taxable property,” said Berry. “That’s 4 percent, and only affects property tax.” 

Last year’s rate was 73.8 cents. “We’ve had a 3 cent increase,” Berry reiterates. “This means a $100,000 home will go up $30, less than $3 per month.”

The 4 percent increase in revenue is the highest that Kentucky allows local governments to seek. “We’re right at the 4 percent,” Berry said.

The additional revenue will be used to pay staff. “The state of Kentucky issued a mandatory 1 percent raise for all staff this year,” Berry explained. “Next year a 2 percent raise will be in order.”

Other schools have struggled in similar situations regarding the compensation of their staff. 

“We don’t want to lose teachers,” Berry said. “This year, about $40,000 will be used for the 1 percent raise, and about $80,000 will be used next year for the 2 percent mandatory increase. The revenue predominately will go toward those raises.”

The general areas to which revenue of $157,914.36 above 2014 revenue is to be allocated are as follows: cost of collections, $4,738; instruction, $129,676.36; transportation, $3,500; and maintenance of plant, $20,000.

Last year, citizens reacted strongly to the Eminence schools levying a special tax for construction. 

“Last year we had an additional tax for buildings and building expansion,” Berry explained. “We haven’t done it before and probably won’t again. The way it works is if the community passes the tax, the state matches it. We’re starting a building in two months as a result of that tax.” 

Officials collected the special tax at a different time, resulting in two different mailers being sent out to the taxpayers

“People thought they were paying two different things, but it just came out two separate times,” he goes on. “This year will be much better.”

Berry is excited about the new addition, called Edhub.

“The new building going up doesn’t look like anything else you’ve seen,” he said. “We are maximizing space, getting more square footage for our money. It will be a 25,000-square-foot addition, the school’s first in 50 or 60 years. The space is much needed as we have 300 more students than we did three years ago.” 

The Eminence Independent Board of Education will hold a public hearing on Sept. 4 at 6 p.m. at the Education Board Office, 291 West Broadway for comments regarding the tax levy of 76.8 cents.