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Unit Five Schools Promise Prop Tax Cut If Sales Tax Ref. Passes

Fri, 07 Mar 2014 12:12:22 CST
By: Charlie Schlenker

The Unit Five School Board is promising to cut property taxes by $3 million a year if the sales tax referendum passes on March 18th. The reduction would last at least five years. Unit Five Board President John Puzauskas says the board is trying to respond to community survey results showing residents want a shift to something other than solely property taxes. Puzauskas says the board feels the district can accomplish the renovations and construction it needs while still offering homeowners some relief.

The owner of a $200,000 home would save about $90 a year or $450 for the period.

Sales taxes raised by the 1% charge on purchases would go to facilities and Unit Five is committing to using the new money to pay off current building project bonds. Existing bonds are due to be paid off in nine years. Unit Five would gain $9 million a year a lot more in sales tax than it is promising to cut in property taxes. Remaining funds would go to security upgrades, infrastructure improvements, and the expansion of Unit Five Schools. Opponents of the referendum object to a permanent tax and call on the school districts to cut funding instead. The district currently owes $184 million in principle and another $50 million in interest for several bond issues extending to the year 2024.

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