CPS increases taxes

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COLUMBIA - Columbia Public Schools Board of Education agreed Thursday on a 57-cent property tax increase, following voter approval earlier in the year. 

Effective September 1, property owners will pay about $6.04 per $100 of assessed property valuation. This is a jump from the $5.46 they paid in the 2015-2016 school year.

Board of Education Vice President Jonathan Sessions said this was part of an annually scheduled tax hearing. The difference is the past few years, tax rates have only gone up or down by small single digit numbers.

For comparison, three years ago the tax rate went up by just two cents, two years ago it increased by four cents and last year it went down two cents. This year's 57-cents is nearly 30 times that difference.

Sessions said, "This year was impacted by the authorization of a levy increase."

Voters approved a 65-cent increase in property taxes for Columbia Public Schools in April. 

Sessions said property owners can probably expect small incremental increases each year until tax rates reach that 65 cent ceiling.

"We don't need all of those funds right now," Sessions said. "We think our citizens would be better to keep those funds in their pockets."

One Columbia home owner and mother said she is unhappy with the large increase in property taxes this year.

"Some people don't have kids, so they're paying for schools but they don't have kids," Mallory Holmes said. She said this increase in taxes was "too much", and she thinks it will impact how many spend and save their money.

This latest increase is expected to bring $12 million for school operations.

The meeting presentation lists where the money will go. Sessions broke it down into three major categories. 

“About 50 percent of that is going straight to teachers’ salaries. Just under the other 50 percent is going into eliminating the deficit spending…And another portion of that, about four or five percent, is going to student programs that are designed to support student success,” Sessions said.