Thursday, January 9, 2014

Courier Reports Tax Impact of Madison Schools Renovation Questioned

From the Madison Courier:

A group of community members gathered at the Opal E. Sherman Auditorium at Madison Consolidated High School on Wednesday to question school officials about the $40 million school renovation project recommended by the school board.

The school district held community forums at noon and 5 p.m. Wednesday to give residents an opportunity to ask questions and hear how the school board arrived at its decision.

Audience members asked about how the project would impact property taxes. While the task force and representatives from the financial adviser group Umbaugh & Associates have said the average homeowner will see an increase of about $5 a month, confusion arose over how the tax increase will be presented on the ballot. 

State law dictates that when voters see the referendum on the ballot, the question must reference the gross impact the $40 million bond will have on property taxes. 

The gross impact is roughly a 40 cent increase per $100 spent. Tom Neff, chief architect on the project for Schmidt & Associates, said that is a little misleading. The bond won't be added to property taxes until 2017 when existing debt is paid off. The increase to local property taxes would be about $5.60 each month, Neff said.