Clark Co. farmers fighting proposed school referendum, property - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Clark Co. farmers fighting proposed school referendum, property tax increase

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The proposal could potentially tax $3.87 per acre on farmland. Yeager says that's a heavy burden. The proposal could potentially tax $3.87 per acre on farmland. Yeager says that's a heavy burden.

CLARK COUNTY, Ind. (WDRB) -- Greater Clark County Schools is asking voters to fund a $109 million project to help renovate old schools and build some new ones -- but not everybody likes the way they're doing it.

Superintendent Andy Melin says they had a facility study done and the results showed 15 out of Clark County's 20 schools were either outdated or unsafe or both.

“We have electrical issues in a lot of our buildings, extensive electrical problems. We have buildings that were built in 1957,” Melin said.

He says over the last two years, school officials have been working on a plan that will improve school conditions that's also fair to taxpayers.

“We're trying to be sensitive to our public knowing that it is a tax increase for our citizens so what is that good balance? We have kids who deserve good facilities,” he said.

But some farmers in northern Clark County say the proposal would put them out of business.

“This is our livelihood. This is where we live and I feel like Greater Clark is targeting the agriculture field,” said Chrissy Yeager, Clark Co. farmer.

The proposal could potentially tax $3.87 per acre on farmland. Yeager says that's a heavy burden.

"We pay $10,000 a year in property tax on our farm alone and if this referendum goes through, you're tacking another thousand dollars to me and Kenny's property tax,” she said.

Residents will have the chance to vote in November.

“We're hoping it gets voted down in November and then we'll fight and go from there,” said Yeager.

Superintendent Melin says the school district is not responsible for how taxes work.

"Our tax structure is set up not by the school system but by the state and it's supposed to be fair across the board. It's our time to make sure we invest in our schools,” said Melin.

If you'd like to voice your opinion on the topics, there's a public meeting Wednesday at 6:00 p.m. at New Washington Middle/High School.

Superintendent Melin will be there along with tax experts and farmers are encourages to attend.

Read more about the school system's facility study and strategies here.

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