Confusion Cleared on Tax Levy
COLUMBIA - Columbia Public Schools officials held an open informational meeting Monday night to discuss this year's tax levy. Many taxpayers have been confused about the tax talk and what a levy actually means. This is the first time the school board offered a meeting to the public this year.
Each year the district considers how much property tax it needs to help with the budget. The board is looking at an increase from the 2009 levy. Superintendent Chris Belcher says its needed as the city's sales tax revenue dropped this year.
"People often get confused when they see that we're adjusting the levy upwards, they think we're raising their taxes, but in reality every year the levy goes up or down based on a set of variables," Belcher said.
More than 17,000 students, teacher's salaries and all of those needed school supplies will be paid for by these taxes. Not just parents are footing the bill, all taxpayers that own any kind of property. That includes homes, commercial and agricultural property and any other personal property such as cars.
The levy proposal breaks those property taxes down as such: 19 percent will come from home owners, commercial property would pay 32 percent, agricultural property would foot 12 percent and personal property makes up the rest.
Taxpayer and teacher Susan McClintic said taxes aren't something to dread.
"I think that we look at taxes as the kind of community that we live in, that we enjoy and as a taxpayer and that the word tax is not a bad thing, it should be watched but it brings us quality infrastructure, it brings us a fantastic school system," McClintic said.
The request comes as the district looks for a way to make up money lost from sales tax.
Back in 2003, the property tax levy was actually higher than this year's proposal. Belcher says that is an indicator of the recession coming into play. The school board will discuss the level during its Thursday morning meeting.
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