POCAHONTAS, Ark. (KAIT) - The Pocahontas School District approved a special election for a potential millage increase to be held on September 8.
Superintendent Jerry Martens says he feels the timing is right for the increase with a new high school on the way.
The school board is asking for a millage increase of 3.44 mills to help fund the new high school. If passed, the move would essentially raise property taxes for those in the district. For example, a property valued at $75,000 would pay $4.30 monthly with the value increasing as the property value increases.
Superintendent Martens says if the potential increase passes, Pocahontas would still boast one of the lowest millage rates in the state at just over 35 mills.
“We’re trying to be good stewards of our money and good stewards of our taxpayers’ money,” Martens said. “[We want to] do the most we can with that and just be as efficient as possible.”
Superintendent Martens added that the school will be able to do a re-sale on their bond issue associated with the millage increase request, which means they will be able to generate more funds for the new school.
He says this combined with lowered interest rates as a result of COVID-19 has benefited the school.
With those factors, he believes now is the time to act. He says if the millage increase doesn’t pass they’ll have to wait six months to present a new plan, but Martens says many factors can hurt the plan.
“There are so many things that can happen,” Martens said. “Interest rates could rise, and so even though we’ve reduced the size of the building possibly, we’d have to ask for a bigger millage to do less with it.”
Right now, the new high school is expected to be over 85,000-square-feet in addition to a new arena and a new performing arts center.
Martens said that he’s excited about the school and he feels that this will benefit the Pocahontas community for decades to come.