Facts about Gainesville Schools’ proposed tax increase
The selling point to convince the voters of the Gainesville school district to approve the increase in the school tax levy is how “little” it will cost a person whose house is valued at $50,000.
It is not only the person who owns a $50,000 house who will be paying the tax. Anyone who owns property will be paying the tax. Anyone who owns anything that is assessed will pay the tax for 25 years. This includes land, cattle, farm machinery, cars, trucks, boats, etc. The amount that is owed on it is not considered.
If a farmer buys a tractor for $90,000 and finances the entire amount, he will have to pay tax on the entire assessed value as long as he owns it.
The voter is agreeing that he, his children and grandchildren will pay the tax as long as they own anything in the district.
When the voter or a member of his family becomes ill and he is deciding if he can afford to buy food or medicine, he will not have a choice about paying his property tax, including this tax.
When the farm has no profit because of a flood, a drought, illness or death of his livestock, or an increase in the cost of feed or machinery repairs, he has to pay the property tax.
In a meeting to campaign for the tax, the administration spoke of the tax raising $5 million. However, the flyer provided lists $5.7 million in its “breakdown of expenses.” There is no expense listed in this “breakdown” for hiring or retaining competent teachers. I believe a child’s education is affected more by the quality of the teacher than a storm shelter or multipurpose facility.
At the meeting, I pointed out that $5 million at 3 percent (an optimistic rate) would cost $150,000 per year in interest and would require payment of $200,000 per year to pay it off in 25 years. Dr. Hyatt estimated the maintenance, including utilities, on the storm shelter to be $30,000 per year for a total of $380,000 per year. The current tax base for the district is $52 million, which would generate $390,000 in additional taxes at 75 cents per $100 if everyone pays their taxes. Dr. Hyatt said, “They might have to tighten their belts.”
The $5.7 million would require $228,000 for payments on the principal, $171,000 per year for interest and $30,000 for maintenance, for a total of $429,000.
A person who has assessed property totaling $50,000 will pay $375 per year, or $31.25 per month in additional tax when the rate reaches 75 cents per $100 assessed valuation. If his electric bill or telephone bill increases $31.25 per month he would seek ways to decrease them by turning off lights, using candles and writing letters or using the internet instead of the telephone. The only way to decrease his taxes is to dispose of assessed property.