Southern Utah News Articles
Top Stories for October 17, 2013
Proposition 1 is good for taxpayers
The Kane County School District is asking voters to approve a new school tax levy of .001033 that will appear on our property tax bills in 2014. The Taxpayer Association of Kane County recommends a vote “For” Proposition 1 on November 5.
We know it sounds like heresy for Kane County’s Taxpayer Association to be supporting an increase in property tax. Our organization has spent hours meeting with school administrators and looking at the financial data supporting this new tax levy. We discovered that there are excellent reasons why this school tax levy is the best way to go for financing our school district as we move into the future. In fact, the small property tax increase now can save us millions of dollars in the future.
The Proposition 1 school tax levy will yield significant community benefit by providing a safer and better educational experience for the children and young adults of Kane County. The new school tax levy will (be) used to upgrade the outdated security systems of our schools, repair old and failing structures, add several new classrooms, and assist our schools with keeping up with the rising costs associated with providing a quality education in Kane County.
The Proposition 1 school tax levy is a continuation of the conservative approach to fiscal management that is being applied by Kane County Superintendent Bob Johnson and Business Administrator Cary Reese. Based on fiscal year 2013 - 20014 tax data, the Kane County School District currently has the fifth lowest property tax levy of the 29 counties in Utah. If Proposition 1 is approved in November, our school district will still have fifth lowest property tax rate in Utah. For a home in Kane County costing $150,000, the Proposition 1 tax levy will cause a resident tax increase of $2.67 per month, or $32 for the whole year.
Most importantly, a vote approving Proposition 1 can save local taxpayers millions of dollars of future expense. Without the new school tax levy, Kane County taxpayers will be paying more money for school bonds in the future.
Here’s how taxpayers will save money if Proposition 1 passes:
Each year a significant portion of the Proposition 1 school tax money will be placed in a Capital Outlay Account and invested in an interest bearing account. The school district’s plan is to save up to $1 million per year. When major construction needs to take place to enlarge or replace aging schools, this money will be employed, rather than borrowing the money through school bonds and indebting taxpayers for years to come.
The Proposition 1 school levy money supports a more economical “pay-as-you-go approach” to financing than does the old method of school bond property tax increases. Rather than paying money to borrow money, taxpayer dollars will be earning money for the future.
Case in point: The current 15 year school bond that funded the construction of Kanab Middle School cost millions of dollars more than if the money had been saved in a Capital Outlay Account. Just the interest and issuance fees of the Middle School construction bond cost the school district about $3 million more than the $8 million that was borrowed with the bond. This is money the School District and the taxpayers of Kane County will not have to pay in the future if voters support the new school tax levy in Proposition 1.
The Proposition 1 school tax levy introduces a wiser approach to managing the finances of the Kane County School District. The tax increase is a small price to pay for supporting local education and saving money in the future. We recommend a vote “For” Proposition 1 on November 5.
Interested taxpayers can attend the school district’s informational meetings on Proposition 1 at 7 p.m. on October 22 at Kanab High School Auditorium and on October 24 at the Kanab Middle School Commons.
Association of Kane County
Sky Chaney, Paul Arndt, Deborah Swanson and Karen Arndt