Attention Property Owners, A New Tax on the Horizon

July 12, 2005--Posted at 10:30 PM CST

JONESBORO-The property tax has not seen an increase since 1988. Now, 17 years later, the Jonesboro School District's finances are being stretched to the limit. It is now in your hands, and you get to decide whether or not to approve the J.P.S. proposed millage increase.

"We need it desperately and all we can do is go to the public and make out case and hope that they agree with us," that was J.P.S. Superintendent Steve Singleton expressing his districts dier need for more money.

The district is asking for a 7.86 mill increase on your property. One million is equal to one dollar for every $1000 assessed.

So for example, if your home is assessed at $20,000, this year you paid $600 in taxes. If the millage increase is approved, you will see an increase of $157 to an annual total $757.

"Were not asking or a whole lot . We're talking about 7.86 mills. Well that to me on a $50,000 home to me is two Big Macs a week a year in order to pay for your kids," Dr. Steve Hendrix, a J.P.S. School Board Member.

The annual revenue from the increase will be nearly 2.7 million dollars. The funds will be allocated into four areas each year- Maintenance and Operation receiving an estimated $350,000, Science and Technology receiving $526,000, Safety and Security receiving almost $600,000, and most important Teacher Quality and Salaries receiving 1.3 million dollars annually.

School Board Member Charles Coleman says the safety of our kids is very important.

Coleman said, "9-11 did some things. Well you might say that this isn't New York , but we are in Arkansas and we are still part of the United States. We need to have safety for our children and safety within our school system. A lot of people don't know it, but we have gangs, and they start with our young kids. We need our school resource officers there to protect our children."

Keith Hendrix says that this is the right tax at the right time.

Hendrix said, "I don't know why anyone would vote against it unless they thought that the money was not going to anything else but the kids, and I can promise you that it is not going to happen."