CARTERVILLE — A few residents of Carterville Community Unit School District 5 showed up seeking information at the school board’s meeting and Tax Levy Hearing Thursday evening.
Superintendent Keith Liddell and Board President David Schwartz said the “black box” notice the district is required to publish in a newspaper was misleading.
The notice said the corporate and special purpose property taxes for the year 2018 were $7,055,800. The proposed taxes to be levied for 2019 is $7,855,000, an increase of 11.2%. The estimated property taxes levied in 2019 for debt service are $2,571,363, a 237.59% increase over 2018. Total taxes levied for 2019 are $10,426,363, a nearly 37% increase over 2018.
“This school district is not going to have an 11.2% tax increase, or a 237.59 tax increase or even a 27% increase,” Schwartz said.
“In 2018, our actual increase was nine cents. Taxes went from $4.01 to $4.10 per equalized assessed value of $100,000,” Liddell said.
He added that the tax levy is the total of property taxes paid within the district. Most of the raises are from new construction. That means new people will fill those homes and begin paying taxes in the district. The board has to raise the overall amount to include new property owners or Williamson County will not collect that amount.
Liddell also pointed out that the levy is the amount the board asks for taxes. It is not the amount they are likely to get.
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The district also has paid a portion of the debt service that amounts to $1,300,000. Williamson County passed a 1% sales tax to help with building new schools. The district uses a portion of that amount to retire the debt from building new buildings.
Karen Reeder of Carterville said she was concerned about the ad because she is a retiree. Her Social Security payments are rising 1.6%.
Liddell offered to sit down with those attending and go over the process and numbers.
Reeder said she wouldn’t ask Liddell to do that before Christmas, but maybe later.
“You started answering my questions, and I appreciate that,” she said.
“The more people who understand and are informed, the better for all of us,” Schwartz said.
In other business, the board accepted the resignation of two bus monitors. The board also hired staff for next school year, as well as junior high coaches.
A board retreat will be Jan. 11. The board’s next meeting will be Jan. 16 at Carterville Junior High School.