PENSACOLA, Fla. (WKRG) — As consumers struggle with rising costs, the Escambia County school board is split on a proposed change to property taxes.
“I think right now with a 9.1% inflation rate, we’ve got people out there trying to pay power bills, they’re paying for medical bills, they’re paying for everything and they’re having to tighten their budget,” said Chairman Kevin Adams.
At the board’s last meeting, they voted 3-2 on a total millage rate of 5.274 for the upcoming school year which is a decrease from last year.
For a $200,000 property with no change in its value, you would pay less in taxes under the proposal but board members acknowledged most properties have seen a value increase meaning you will still have to pay more.
“Property values have gone up historically 18.43%,” said Adams.
“I think many people in our community, myself included, may have to pay a little bit more because our property gets a higher evaluation,” said Board Member Patty Hightower.
As the district deals with inflation and works to pay teachers and employees more money, some members say a tax increase needs to happen.
“Even my house insurance has gone up but I have to pay that,” said Board Member Laura Edler. “So there are some things that we may not like to do, don’t want to do, but we’ve got to do them.”
“We’re trying to hire teachers,” said Board Member Bill Slayton. “We’re trying to maintain the academic standards that we’re used to and I’m not sure cutting $7 million that we’re gonna be able to do that.”
If you want to give your input, the school board will have its first public hearing Thursday at 5 p.m. at the J.E. Hall Center at 30 Texar Drive.
The final millage rate and budget will be approved in September.