Mt. Vernon Register-News

December 7, 2012

MVTHS seeks increase in property tax levy

It seeks a six percent increase and there will be a Truth in Taxation Hearing Dec. 17


MT. VERNON — — Mt. Vernon Township High School will seek a 6 percent increase in its 2012 property tax levy.

The estimated total property taxes to be levied for 2012 are $8.68 million, compared to the total property taxes extended or abated in 2011, at $8.19 million.

There will be a Truth in Taxation hearing at 7 p.m. before the Dec. 17 MVTHS Board of Education meeting in order to discuss the levies. Anyone wishing to appear and speak before the taxing district may contact MVTHS Superintendent Dr. Mike Smith at 246-5908.

MVTHS seeks a 8.27 percent increase in corporate and special purpose property taxes for 2012 — $6.77 million compared to $6.26 million extended or abated in 2011.

“We ask for this 8.27 percent with the expectation that in all likelihood we’ll probably get somewhere around 4 percent,” Smith said. “We could have adopted a tentative levy that was 4.99, under the 5 percent, as some people do. We wouldn’t have to do the Truth in Taxation hearing.”

Last year, MVTHS sought to levy $6.93 million, and after the rate was adjusted, received $6.26 million, a difference of $671,190, Smith said.

For the 2012 levy, the district seeks $8.7 million, which minus its bond and interest payments is $6.77 million. Based on last year’s received tax amounts, the district is likely to receive $517,000 less than it is requesting, Smith said.

Smith said the taxing district is “ballooning the levy” in order to get as much of an increase as is possible under Property Tax Extension Limit laws.

Smith said because the district doesn’t know what the figures for the new property will be, it used the figure of $10 million for new construction. He said the estimated figure of $10 million is admittedly high, but is as such on purpose.

“You don’t leave any dollars on the table that have already been approved by the taxpayers,” he said. “The taxpayers under the tax cap resolution have already approved for us to access up to five percent or the (Consumer Price Index), whichever is less, on existing property, and new property at 100 percent before it goes under the cap.”

 Smith said the tax rate is most likely to be determined by the CPI, as it has been less than 5 percent for “many, many years,” but there’s a chance that if the district only asked for a three percent increase in its tax levy, it could lose money.

“It becomes a question of how much more than that 3 percent are you going to ask for in dollars, and that’s how we approach our levy,” he said. “We’ve actually reduced this, if you look historically.”

Smith said the district in the past has sought up to a 12 percent increase in the tax levy, despite knowing the PTEL tax cap in Jefferson County would prevent that from happening.