Ashland board of education

Finance director Kristen Martin outlines tax rate facts to the Ashland board.

ASHLAND Some Ashland residents will pay more property tax in the coming year following a tax hike by the Ashland Board of Education.

The board on Friday imposed a 4 percent increase on real estate and personal property taxes.

However, the increase is not on the tax rate, which actually drops slightly, from 76.1 cents per hundred dollars of property valuation, to 76 cents per hundred.

Rather, the increase is in the amount of money the district expects to collect. Because reevaluation in the district shows some properties have increased in value, the additional tax revenue is expected to come to 4 percent more than what was collected in the previous year.

State law allows districts to raise taxes that much each year without seeking voter approval.

Total property valuations in the district rose about 45 million, district finance director Kristen Martin said.

The increase means at the new tax rate the district should collect an additional $427,000, she said, and the additional burden will fall on those whose property values went up.

The board approved the increase following a public hearing but no one showed up for the hearing. That suggests public support of the board and its decision, member David Latherow said. “I think we’ve got the support of the community by virtue of the fact there’s nobody here (to oppose it),” he said.

“In four years I’ve only had one phone call questioning the tax and it was a caller who didn’t live in the district,” board chairman Mark McCarty said.

Superintendent Sean Howard recommended taking the 4 percent. “That’s money that is much needed, and it’s money we can never get back unless we take it,” he said.

The district needs the money to pay for increased support staff retirement obligations, purchase of new buses, a potential teacher raise — which would be the first since 2015-2016, according to Howard.

A 2 percent raise would cost an additional $293,000 in the coming fiscal year, according to figures Martin provided.

The district also has a lengthy list of building needs, including roof replacement, heating and air conditioning upgrades and security vestibules.

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