Henderson Co. fiscal court points to tax report to show that school district, not county government, gets biggest share of local tax revenue; sheriff: district's nickel tax also raised awareness of local taxation
The Gleaner, Henderson, July 12, 2017
School taxes draw interest during Henderson Fiscal Court Tuesday
By Beth Smith
What seemed to garner the most attention at Tuesday's Henderson Fiscal Court meeting was the tax report from the sheriff's office, and what public agency it shows recieving the most money.
The report gives a breakdown of the amount various county agencies received from real estate taxes during 2016. The report was accepted by the fiscal court.
Magistrate George Warren said that out of the state, the county, the Henderson County Public Library, the health department and the Henderson County Extension Office, it was the Henderson County School District which receives by far the largest chunk of revenue generated by real estate taxes.
"If you look at the top line, the county only received $2.7 million but the school district received $12.5 million from real estate taxes," Warren said. "When I'm out (talking to people) the public assumes we get a lot of the tax money. We do get our fair share. But I think it's important for people to see that differential, especially $2.7 million compared to $12.5 million. I don't know if it's the nickel tax or what."
Sheriff Ed Brady said that the implementation of the nickel tax in 2015 provided residents with a better understanding of how tax dollars are divvied up.
"One of the best things, as difficult as it was last year when we had to collect taxes twice (due to the nickel tax), is that citizens actually got to see how much the school tax was compared to the other taxes," said Sheriff Ed Brady. "About 60 percent of their tax bill" goes to the school system.
"A lot of people came to us and said that they thought the county got all of this money," Brady said. "We told them no. This money is distributed and the county only gets a portion, but that it's our job to collect it."
"The nickel tax did help inform people last year, but it didn't make them any happier," he said.
According to the sheriff's report, the state received $2.6 million from real estate taxes during 2016. The county's portion of the tax revenue was $2.7 million, the school system got $12.5 million, the library received $2 million, the extension office was given roughly $660,000 and the health department received approximately $553,000.
In 2015, the state's portion of the real estate tax revenue was $2.5 million; the county received $2.7 million; the school district received $12.2 million; the library received $1.8 million; the health department's portion was a rough $543,000 and the county extension office was given approximately $605,000.
In other business on Tuesday:
The fiscal court moved forward with replacing a bridge on Martin-Martin Road which was condemned by the state. Henderson County Engineer Bill Hubiak said the bridge is located on a school bus route and was closed at the end of June.
"We are replacing the old bridge structure which was closed/condemned by the state," Hubiak said. "We are going to make it wider and longer because right now it's constricted. Back then they thought that a shorter bridge saved money. It's going from 14.5 feet wide to 20-feet wide and from 25-foot length to a 40-foot length. We're hoping to have the new bridge in within the next two and a half months."
"The school system will have to send buses in from both ends, unfortunately, but they are aware of that," he said.
The fiscal court approved a bid from E&H Bridge and Grating Inc. from Bedford, Indiana, for $59,457. This company will build the bridge structure. The demolition and removal of the old bridge will be performed by Double A Services Inc. of Henderson. This company bid $45,800.
The magistrates also approved a resolution regarding a community development block grant totaling $1 million which will be used by Hansen Aluminum to purchase special equipment for the company's new plant.