Nickel tax discussed by Augusta BOE

Christy Howell-Hoots - [email protected]

AUGUSTA — The possibility of adding a nickel tax was discussed by the Augusta Independent Board of Education Thursday.

AIS Superintendent Lisa McCane told the board the new tax rate would be 69.6 cents per $100 of assessed value for real estate, 69.6 cents per $100 for property and 57.6 cents per $100 for motor vehicles with a 3 cent utility tax.

According to McCane, the rate for last year was 67.6 cents per $100.

“A (4 percent) increase is 68.6 (cents) and the nickel levy requires a 1 cent increase over the (4 percent) thus the 69.6 (cent) proposed rate,” she said. “Basically, we can get an extra nickel with only having to increase the tax rate by 1 cent. The primary reason is due to the increase of property valuation from Berry Global and that brought down the overall tax rates.”

McCane said the money raised from the nickel tax would be restricted money and only allowed to be used for buildings.

According to McCane, the district currently has a bonding potential of $500,000-$800,000, but if the nickel tax passes, the bonding potential would be $2.5 million.

“The board is looking at doing this now because with Berry Global coming back on the tax rolls, it brought the rates down,” she said. “We’re talking one cent on every $100 of assessed value, so you’re talking about $10-15 more. That’s the financial impact it would have on the taxpayers. That’s why we’re capitalizing on this now.”

McCane said if a house is valued at $75,000, the rate would go up by $15.

A public hearing on the rate will be held at a later date.

During the meeting, the board also presented the superintendent’s evaluation.

According to AIS Board of Education Chair Laura Bach, McCane received mostly exemplary ratings, which is the highest rating on the evaluation. She received seven accomplished ratings.

“That’s still a high rating,” she said.

Board Member Shawn Hennessey said his responses were tied in with how McCane has handled the residency dispute between AIS and the Bracken County School District.

“Every one of these categories led into that one way or another,” he said.

Hennessey said he appreciated McCane’s passion for the district.

“I’ve been at a lot of meetings and I’ve not seen the concern for school districts like I do with you,” he said. “It shows in you, so thank you.”

Board Member Dionne Laycock said her responses were due to the handling of the budget.

“You’ve been doing an excellent job with thinking strategically and finding ways for us to save money,” she said.

Board Member Julie Moore said her ratings were due to the way McCane interacts with the community as a representative of the school.

“You’ve worked with the businesses and the community college and trying to find ways to improve education for our students,” she said.

Other items discussed during the meeting included:

— Approving the monthly budget.

— Approving the monthly facilities report.

— Approving the second reading of board policies.

— Approving the first reading of the school facilities use board policy.

Christy Howell-Hoots

[email protected]