Schools have requested tax increases prior

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By Damon Lawrence

One of the talking points during the debate about Roane County Schools request for a 14-cent increase in the property tax rate focused on the last time the schools requested an increase.

“I believe it is evident by our clean audits and not asking for a tax increase since the 1980s that this school board and system have been excellent stewards of the funding received,” Director of Schools Gary Aytes said in a letter to the editor.

The last increase requested prior to this year hadn’t been since the 1980s, however. The school board requested one in 2007.

School system business manager Eric Harbin and then director of schools Toni McGriff took the request for a 4-cent increase before the budget committee on July 5, 2007. The minutes from that meeting are still available at the Roane County Clerk’s Office.

“Motion by (Mike) Hooks, second by (James) Harmon to reduce total expenditures by $346,120 from $49,972,845 to $49,626,725 and to reject the request of the School Board to increase property taxes 4 cents in the General Purpose School Fund 141,” the minutes state.

On Friday Aytes said he based his 1980s comments on information he got from the school board.  

“I will check with our people on Monday and see if there was an official request for a tax increase in 2007 because the board members told me there hadn’t been,” he said.   

The school board’s request for the tax increase in 2007 didn’t receive nearly as much fanfare as the one this year.

Proponents packed meetings to show support for the 14-cent increase, but the county commission voted to keep the county’s property tax rate at $2.18 per $100 valuation for the 2013-14 fiscal year.