The Jefferson County Public Schools Board of Education held a public forum on a proposed property tax rate increase on August 12, 2013.
The Board and Superintendent Donna Hargens invited any members of the public to speak on the issue, and a packed crowd sat in the auditorium of the Van Hoose Educational Center and listened to a stream of citizens give their opinions on the proposal, which increases the property tax rate by an additional 3.1 percent.
To the average Jefferson County resident this means that the property tax will be increased for the sixth straight year, at an average cost of 18 more dollars per year per homeowner. For JCPS, it means an additional 17 million dollars in tax revenue which will be divided up between several different areas such as Transportation and Maintenance.
The majority of the 18 citizens who spoke opposed the proposal, many coming prepared with facts to support their arguments about what they saw as overreach and over-taxation by Jefferson County.
Laura Roberts, the first speaker of the night, said she was “offended in the first place that (JCPS) has the power to change the taxes as they do.”
The crowd responded with applause to her remarks, as they did to several more like it. Speakers brought up points such as Louisville being the fourth highest taxed city in America, or that this was the sixth straight year that JCPS has raised the tax rate.
Not all speakers were against the proposal however. One such speaker who approved of the increase in taxes was Pat Murrell, a former ECE teacher who believed that extra taxation was necessary to meet all the needs of the students of JCPS.
“You have kids that are being marginalized without the proper funding,” Murrell said. “And that funding is only going to come from taxation.”
By Nathan Foster & Jakob Felty