COLUMBIA — Property owners in the Columbia School District face a 14.8 cent tax increase to help stabilize the budget for Columbia Public Schools.
Superintendent Chris Belcher is recommending an increase in the district’s tax levy from $4.77 to $4.92 per $100 assessed valuation. The Board of Education has scheduled a public hearing on the tax rate at 7:30 Thursday morning in the district administrative building at 1818 W. Worley St.
For the owner of a $150,000 home, the proposal would increase school district property taxes by $42.24 a year, according to the district. For a $200,000 home, the additional taxes would total about $60.
If the current tax levy is increased from $4.77 to $4.92 per assessed value, this is how much of an increase Columbia homeowners can expect based on the values of their homes.
The new rate would take effect Dec. 31.
The proposed increase comes in response to lower property values in the district and the expectation of additional education funding cuts at the state level.
Declining revenues from Proposition C, a statewide measure approved in 1982 that added a 1-cent sales tax for education, is another reason.
“This is a perfect sign of the recession,” Belcher said in an interview Wednesday. “People are not buying the products they used to buy.”
Belcher said the proposed increase for the owner of a $150,000 home would average out to “less than $4 more per month compared to last year.”
Michelle Baumstark, community relations coordinator for the district, said decreases in the district’s assessed valuation of all properties is about 2.4 percent. The tax increase would generate an additional $1.68 million a year, she said.
The board can elect to voluntarily adjust the tax levy rate in a nonreassessment year based on a formula. The adjusted rate, however, must remain below the voter-approved ceiling of $4.94.