LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — Two years after Jefferson County Public Schools successfully defended a significant tax increase from a recall effort, the school district is proposing the second consecutive decline in its property tax rate.
Superintendent Marty Polio’s administration recommends lowering the tax rate to 76.3 cents for every $100 in assessed property value, from the current 79.6 cents, according to documents prepared in advance of the school board’s meeting on Tuesday.
The change would be effective for the annual property tax bill that arrives in November and is due by Dec. 31. It would mean a $33 savings for every $100,000 in assessed value. The owner of a $200,000 home, for example, would owe $66 less.
Board members took a politically sensitive vote in 2020 to raise the rate by nearly 10% to 80.6 cents, a move that survived a legal challenge that went to the Kentucky Supreme Court.
The proposed rate of 76.3 cents will bring JCPS’ tax rate closer to the 73.6 cents that was in effect before the contentious 2020 vote.
The board is likely to lower the rate for the second-consecutive year because of a 1979 Kentucky law that generally limits the increases that local governments can receive from property taxes to 4% per year.
If school districts want to collect more than a 4% increase, the rate they set becomes subject to a public recall vote.
Lowering the rate ensures the district’s property tax revenue stays within the 4% growth cap.
JCPS board member James Craig said there is little appetite for another referendum on whether the district should raise taxes.
“We have to do this or the rate’s going to be subject to recall, and I don’t think that we’re in a position right now — I don’t think the community is in a position right now — with respect to JCPS to go through another recall debate after we just went to the Supreme Court,” James said.
JCPS, which is the biggest component of local property taxes, expects to receive $674 million from the real estate tax and also from taxes on personal property.