On Monday, the Troup County School Board held two mileage rate hearings — one at the Davis Road administration building and another at West Point Elementary School.
Both included a handful of speakers, who spoke out against the school system’s mileage rate of 18.85, which is not changing but will mean more money for TCSS due to rising property values. throughout the county. LDN attended the meeting at West Point.
Some speakers said the value of their property has increased by 40% to 50% since last year, which will lead to a significant increase in the property tax they owe.
Superintendent Brian Shumate introduced the mileage rate at the start of the hearing, explaining that approximately 60% of the school system’s budget comes from state revenue and 40% through local property taxes. He said he and the council were listening as they considered where to set the mileage rate.
“The equity in your home means absolutely nothing if you can’t afford to keep your home. That’s what I’m afraid of,” said speaker Andrew Barrett. “I know people who are selling their homes right now in Troup County because they can’t afford the cost of living. They can’t stand the increase — the inflation.
Another speaker, Phillip Schultz, said that if there is no mileage rate reduction, parents are going to have to spend more time at work – and away from their children – trying to make ends meet.
“It will lead to a waste of time that these parents have to spend with their children. This will result in more keyed children…. I think tax rates go up the way they are with the inflation problem that we have we’re going to see more and more parents having to make that tough decision to go to work, pulling those extra shifts to keep walking on water,” Schultz said. “And I think we’re going to see a deterioration in the mental and possibly physical health of our children because their parents can’t be there.”
During his two-minute speech, West Point Mayor Steve Tramell turned and addressed the audience, telling those in attendance to transfer their frustration to the county government, not the school board.
He noted that West Point citizens pay a county and city tax, bringing up a topic that was discussed during the service delivery strategy agreement.
“The county takes money from the citizens of West Point and does not provide services for the money they take,” Tramell said. “We pay for services we don’t see. We should have a separate tax district.
He encouraged citizens to show up for the county meeting on July 5.
Board member Joe Franklin said his vote would also take into account that the school system needs to support the children of Troup County. He noted that at some point he expects property values to go the other way, which means that if the mileage rate is lowered now, a future board may have to increase.
“We’re going to do what we can with it. You’ve come to the right place,” Franklin told those in attendance. “And again, we are all part of you. We’ve all had tax increases too.
Every council member who spoke said they were also struggling with higher property taxes.
Board member Brandon Brooks said he encouraged anyone with a solution to come forward.
“We all need help, but please understand this, if you have a solution – I’m not on social media – but I’ve heard a lot of people have the solution. Don’t assume we know the solution. Don’t assume we know your idea. Contact one of us on this forum.
No one at the West Point meeting spoke in favor of maintaining the mileage rate.
The third and final mileage rate hearing will be held July 7 in the Boardroom of the Administrative Services Center located at 100 North Davis Road at 5 p.m.