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The Franklin County Schools Board of Education passed a lower tax rate on real and personal property at a special meeting Thursday.

The rate approved Thursday is 71.8 cents per $100 of assessed value, a decrease of 2.5 cents from 2019. The school district will get the same amount of tax revenue as last year because of growth in the county's assessed property values.

“It’s an ability for you as a board of education to lower the individual burden for each of our taxpayers for this year, and it’s a wonderful year to do that with what’s going on with COVID-19," FCS Superintendent Mark Kopp told board members before the vote.

“Even lowering that rate and helping our individual taxpayers, we will still receive the compensating rate, which is the same amount of revenue based on new development and everything else.”

Shane Smith, the district’s finance director, credited assessments by the Property Valuation Administrator's Office. 

“The only thing I would add is the reason we’re able to do that is (PVA) assessments,” he said. “We’re able to maintain the same amount of tax revenue because assessments have gone up by reducing those rates.”    

Added Kopp, “If we’re able to maintain a balanced budget, trim some expenses, which we’ve been able to do, and still have the same amount of revenue come in, I think this is a really good year for you to consider that.” 

The new rate passed unanimously.

“I think that’s the least we can do considering there are people out of work, they’re going to lose their homes if they haven’t already,” board member BeLinda Henson said. “To put a burden on them of increasing taxes, it’s just brutal.”

The board also approved a 2020-21 working budget, which must be submitted to the Kentucky Department of Education by Sept. 30.

The working budget is $73,843,307, an increase of $516,114 from the 2019-20 budget. The amount carried over from last year’s budget is $11,929,173.

Smith said the budget is conservative with its estimates. A decrease of $362,953 is expected in state general fund revenue.

An increase of $5,680,290 is projected in the special revenue fund, which is made up of grants.

The carryover going into the 2019-20 budget was $12,347,032.

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