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Tax hearing not for further increase

Staff reporter

Fred Martinez, the warehouse manager for the Carbon School District, wheels a hand truck load of supplies into Sally Mauro Elementary as the beginning of the school year approaches. The school district is having a public hearing on a tax increase that was passed by the public on August 13 at the regular meeting of the school board. Classes begin August 21 at the Carbon District and August 25 at the Pinnacle Canyon Academy.

Last February, the Carbon County School District conducted a public election to determine whether a mill levy increase on property tax in the county would take place this fall. The increase would go toward funding school programs, improvements and teacher rate increases.

Despite a poor turnout at the polls, county residents voted to allow the school district to raise the levy to the maximum amount allowed by state law for an increase of .0011. This was the first voted leeway for the local school district since 1956.

By approving the tax increase, Carbon County residents allowed the mill levy to go up to .00699 annually from the .00599 level that has been charged for almost 50 years.

The increase is a 16.69 percent increase which equals approximately $55.00 more per year on a $100,000 residence.

Carbon school district officials planned on using the increase to raise teacher funds as well as make up for budget shortfalls which have affected schools across the state.

Although the leeway was voted on and passed in February, the school district has not implemented the tax increase but will do so August 13 after a public meeting at the school board office.

"We have had several concerned citizens contact us with worries. Many feel that this meeting is aimed toward increasing taxes even more. That is not the case," indicated district business administrator, Bill Jewkes. "Rather, this meeting is part of the process school districts are required to perform in order to activate the mill rate increase."

During the public meeting, school district officials will simply sign the property tax increase into affect. This is not an attempt to raise the counties property taxes any more than was voted on in the February election.

"The public notice which has appeared the past several weeks in the newspaper is to let the public know that the voted leeway is about to take affect. We are not looking to increase taxes more than the vote already did. It is important that residents understand this fact," Jewkes pointed out.

County residents will notice the increase this year when they receive their property tax notices.

By December, the school district will begin collecting the increased funds when residents submit their property tax fees.

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