Clark County, Indiana voters reject tax hike sought by school district
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Clark County, Ind. voters have rejected a property tax increase that would have funded $109.2 million in building renovations and new construction for Greater Clark County Schools.
Fifteen of Clark County’s 20 schools are in need of upgrades, Superintendent Andy Melin previously told WDRB News.
The school district wanted to fund the capital improvements with bonds repaid over 20 years by the increased property taxes.
“I respect the community and their votes, but we’re obviously very disappointed with the outcome," Melin said in a prepared statement. "We worked very hard to educate the voters about the problems with some our facilities, and the cost to fix those issues which allowed them to make an informed decision about the proposed tax increase. Our facility challenges are not going away, so we will have to facilitate extensive community-based discussions to find a resolution that the voters will be able to support in the future.”
For the median home in Clark County – valued at $127,400, according to 2013 U.S. Census figures – the referendum could have added up to $500 in annual taxes.
That’s according to the state of Indiana’s Referendum Impact Calculator. The estimate assumes a regular residential property with no compensating factors such as a Homestead exemption or mortgage interest tax deduction.
Over the 20-year life of the referendum, the impact could have been as much as $10,006 in additional taxes for the median home, according to the online calculator.
Some farmers – who own large plots of land – bristled at the idea of raising property taxes.
“This is our livelihood. This is where we live and I feel like Greater Clark is targeting the agriculture field,” Clark County farmer Chrissy Yeager told WDRB in August.
A Facebook group called “Stop GCCS’s Wasteful Spending” was formed in opposition to the referendum.
“(T)here is no way that you can feel inclined to burden a super-taxed middle class farmer with a tax as stringent as this,” Anthony Stewart, a Greater Clark County parent, wrote in a post shared on the page Tuesday. “There are needed improvements, there are closures needed, but not this way.”
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