LaRue County residents head to the polls to vote for or against an additional 10-cent tax levy on their 2022 property taxes.
The special election is an attempt to recall the property tax passed in the spring by the LaRue County School Board. The last opportunity to vote is Tuesday.
The proposed increase is a “double nickel tax” of 10 cents per $100 of assessed property value, which the school district said is needed to deal with aging facilities, such as the county’s middle school building. from the street.
“Looking at our situation of only having $8 million in link capacity and knowing that our schools are aging – the 65-year-old college with serious issues – and you factor in the coming of the factory of batteries in Glendale and the possibilities of an influx of students there, we’re just concerned that we just don’t have the funds to properly maintain the facilities that we have,” the superintendent said. of LaRue County, David Raleigh.
Raleigh said the board also wants to provide career and technical programming opportunities for students. Currently, he said the district offers some opportunities but some students still need to get out of the district.
“We are looking for a way to provide internal opportunities for our students,” he said.
Raleigh said the idea is to build a new high school to provide those vocational and technical programming opportunities and move middle school students to the current high school, doing some repairs there as well.
Plus, part of the reason for “Why now?” is the equalization that the legislature has put in place, Raleigh said. The only way the district can access that extra money is to have that extra tax rate.
“At this time, we are not eligible for any of this additional funding,” Raleigh said. “It was just one of those deals where if we don’t do something it just won’t be a good situation for us in terms of facilities going forward.”
LaRue County residents are split on the measure, hence the special election.
The tax levy could be reversed if a group of five people put together a petition signed by 10% of voters who voted in the 2020 presidential election. Since there were approximately 7,250 people who voted at the time, the petition was to contain 725 signatures, said Lanny Vincent, one of the petitioners.
Vincent said he presented two petitions, both of which contained more than the required 725 certified signatures, to Clerk Rhonda Metcalf’s office, where the signatures and voting information were verified.
“We had no difficulty collecting the number of signatures,” he said. “…That’s an indication right there of what the general public thought of this tax increase.”
Opponents of the tax say timing is one of the main issues. His colleague Ryan Bivens said inflation was at its highest level in 40 years and people were struggling to get fuel into their vehicles and food on the table.
“I don’t know if there is ever a good time, but I can tell you that now is definitely not a good time for an additional tax,” he said. “It’s a huge increase. …When you live in a small, rural community like LaRue County, there are people who are currently struggling to get gas in their tank and food on the table…or on a fixed income. It’s just a bad time.
In a Thursday night live Q&A on the LaRue County Schools Facebook page, which can be viewed, it was shown that someone with a home valued at $225,000 would see an increase in $225 on property tax. , which equates to about $18 per month.
Bivens and Vincent both expressed disappointment with the board’s decision to hold a special election rather than wait until November. The council is responsible for paying the cost of the special election, which Vincent says is estimated to be around $24,000.
A group of LaRue County residents in favor of the measure created the Vote Yes for LaRue County Schools committee. Dale Morris, a retired LaRue County attorney and president of the group, said he wants to be a strong supporter of the passage of enhanced facilities funding.
“It was not the role of the school board or the district to campaign for the vote, so we came together to raise funds, print signs and show this community that there is great support behind our district. education and the future of our children,” he said. said, encouraging voters to consider “the future of our county.”
Vincent said people voting in favor of the tax say they’re “doing it for the kids” and opponents of the tax have the same reason.
“We also do it for children. We do this for all LaRue counties,” Vincent said. “A mother or a father, a single mother or a single father, they have to put food on the table. They have to put clothes on the backs of these children. They have to put a roof over the heads of these children. They need to make sure they can afford their children’s medical bills. While we’re doing this for the kids too, we’re doing this for all LaRue counties.
Bivens encouraged residents to get out and vote.
Bivens said if the people of LaRue County voted that they wanted to be taxed more so the school could build new buildings, he would accept it and move on.
“That’s the great thing about being in America. We have that right,” he said. “I respect the other side enough that if they win I’ll pay my share of taxes and I will continue.”
Regardless of the outcome, Raleigh said LaRue County is still a community and still cares for its students.
“Whether it succeeds or fails, our staff will take care of the children. They are going to educate the children to the best of our abilities,” he said. “No matter what happens, our children still deserve a quality education and people should always get along. In this landscape of political malaise, I think this is an opportunity for us to take the higher road no matter what and be kind to one another.
Early in-person voting began Thursday. In-person voting on Election Day is Tuesday. Polling stations will be open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Voting centers are at Old School Mall in Magnolia, Uptown Graphics in Upton, Rolling Fork Christian Church in the Lyons Station area and First Baptist Church, 730 Tonieville Road, Hodgenville.