The Meade County Board of Education held a public hearing at 5 p.m. on Sept. 24 ahead of a special-called meeting regarding raising the tax rates.
The proposed rate increase would bring the rate to 59.5 cents per $100 of assessed value. The current rate is 58.8 cents per $100 of assessed value. For a home worth $100,000, that would be an increase of $7 on the owner’s property tax bill.
The average rate in the state is 65.8 cents per $100 of assessed value.
Superintendent Mark Martin gave several reasons as to why the rate needed to be increased. He said that funding from the Kentucky Department of Education has decreased by $220,000, and that another decrease in funding is expected.
The COVID-19 pandemic has put a strain on the district’s budget. In addition to buying PPE and other necessary supplies, the district has also created a virtual education option, MyMeadeOnline. This is an extra cost for the district, and though Martin says they’ve received funds from the federal government to offset costs, it isn’t enough.
Four people signed up for public comment, some voicing concerns about the rate and some voicing concerns about the time of the hearing, saying that 5 p.m. was too early for those working in Louisville to make it.
Trey Webb, who operates Webb’s Butcher Block in Payneville with his father, opposed the increase and said that it would be nice to see the district support their business more than they do. He referenced hot dogs they make and had offered to the schools, saying that the district buys “essentially zero” of them.
“We go above and beyond what we need to do, yet we get limited support from the community itself as far as the school district,” said Webb.
Other members of the public expressed concern that, because of the pandemic, families have had to tighten their belts. The rate increase, though slight, would make it that much harder for families to make ends meet.
Ultimately, the Board voted to approve the rate increase unanimously.