A proposal for a 2.4-cent increase in the county school-tax rate on real estate will be on the agenda for the Fayette County Board of Education's regular meeting Aug. 22.
The school-tax rate on real estate in Fayette County would rise from the current 62.8 cents per $100 of assessed value to 65.2 cents, under the plan.
That works out to an increase of $24 a year on a $100,000 house. The tax rate on personal property would remain at 54.3 cents, and the rate on motor vehicles would be unchanged at 59.2 cents.
The changes would affect taxes due for payment this fall.
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Fayette County Public Schools administrators have recommended that board members approve the rate boost, which would provide the district with the full 4-percent revenue increase allowed annually under Kentucky state law. The district's tentative budget for 2011-12 is predicated on such an increase.
The public will be able to comment on the tax proposal at a hearing at 5:30 p.m. Aug. 22 in conference room C at the district's central office, 701 East Main Street. The school board meets one hour later in the central office's Norsworthy Auditorium.
Last year — for the first time in recent memory — the board gave taxpayers a break and declined to take the 4-percent revenue increase permitted by law, electing to leave the tax rate unchanged. Superintendent Stu Silberman said at the time that he would not recommend a rate increase because many Lexington families were still struggling in the continuing nationwide economic downturn.
The U.S. economy remains shaky. But Silberman said a few weeks ago that the school system probably would take the allowed revenue increase this year.
Kentucky law permits public school districts to raise their tax rates each year to keep pace with the rising cost of operating schools. But tax revenue may rise by no more than 4 percent over the previous year. If property values go up enough, for example, a school district actually might have to reduce its tax rate to keep revenue increases within the 4 percent window.
Any revenue increase of more than 4 percent could be subject to a roll-back referendum.
Kentucky school boards usually take the allowed 4 percent increase.
If the proposed new rate in Fayette County is approved, property taxes would generate total revenue of $161,293,622 this year, according to school district projections.