The Harlan Independent School Board voted to take the compensating tax rate during a recent meeting, resulting in a tax increase of less than a penny per $100 of property value for the Harlan Independent School district.
Superintendent C.D. Morton explained how the board came to that decision.
“The compensating rate is the rate that will potentially generate the same amount of revenue for our district as it did the previous year,” Morton said. “That was less than a penny (per $100) for us in terms of the compensating rate. We could have done a 4 percent rate…but we just felt like we would try to make due with what we have, so the board elected to choose the compensating rate.”
According to Morton, the increase for the average taxpayer in the Harlan Independent Schools district will be approximately $4, based on an average property value of $51,761.
Morton explained the property values within the district had seen a slight decline from last year.
“We are very fortunate that our property values only slightly decreased, resulting in less than a 1 cent change in our compensating rate for 2016,” Morton said.
The rate commonly referred to as the compensating rate is designed to allow the taxing entity the ability to generate the same amount of revenue as the year before. As property values fluctuate so do the compensating rates for districts.
Without opposition or comment from citizens attending the meeting, the board voted unanimously to set the 2016 tax rate at 49.3 cents for both real and tangible property, while watercraft and aircraft were exempted.
According to a press release, Meadors stated he was proud of how the district has been able to adapt to the changes while still providing quality service to the community.
“Our district does an excellent job of preparing our students for the next step,” said Meadors. “Sometimes it is not easy to do with the limited financial resources available to us, but in the end the students of Harlan Independent are getting a quality education. Our students and staff work hard and deserve the very best we can give them. We have to weather some storms and will continue to look for ways to improve our services.”
The release adds Morton clarified to the board that by not taking the allowable 4 percent rate increase of 51.2 cents, which could be passed without recall, the district would be leaving funds on the table. However, by setting the rate at the lower rate of 49.3 cents he felt this would keep them well below other districts and may help ease the burden for the future.
“We appreciate, as always, the people that are paying the taxes, we appreciate our community and the support they’ve shown to the school,” Morton said.
Reach Joe P. Asher at 606-909-4132 or on Twitter @joe_hde