AUGUSTA — A nickel tax was approved by the Augusta Independent School Board of Education during a special meeting Thursday.
The meeting was preceded by a public hearing to allow residents to ask questions before the nickel tax was approved. During the hearing, AIS Superintendent Lisa McCane gave a presentation on exactly how much the nickel would cost and why the school district needs it.
According to McCane, last year’s rate was 67.6 cents per $100 of assessed property value. 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.
Without the extra nickel, the board will still take the 4 percent increase this year and the rate would be 68.6 cents per $100 of assessed property value.
“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 nickel tax will generate an extra $30,873 per year, but will increase the district’s bonding potential from $500,000-$800,000 to $2.3 million with an annual $83,600 available from the state.
“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.”
According to McCane, with the nickel in place, a homeowner with property valued at $100,000 will pay an additional $20 per year. Without the nickel tax, the same homeowner will pay an additional $10 per year.
The money can only be used for facilities, according to McCane.
“If we don’t take advantage of this, the money will just go to someone else,” she said.
The board members unanimously approved the tax.