Shelbyville Daily Union

Local News

November 28, 2013

Shelby School Board seeks tax referendum

The Shelbyville School Board passed a resolution to try for a third time to propose a 1 percent sales tax on the March 18 ballot.

School districts in the county representing 51 percent of Shelby County students had to agree to the resolution to put it on the ballot. All districts, except Windsor, passed resolutions in recent weeks.

The resolution directs the Regional Superintendent of Schools to certify to the County Clerk the tax proposition to the voters on the March ballot.

Proceeds from the tax is to be used exclusively for school facility purposes. It cannot be used for salaries or operations.

Shelbyville School Board has designated its portion of the funds toward replacement of the 60-year-old steam heat system at the High School. Estimated cost of replacement is $2.5 to $3 million.

“We simply don’t have that kind of money in our operating funds,” Superintendent Denise Bence said.

The tax would come from sales of non-essential goods sold in the county, such as restaurant food, alcohol, clothing, fuel and other items currently covered by the state sales tax. Groceries, over-the counter and prescription medicines, cars, boats, and other licensed vehicles, farm equipment, parts and inputs are not taxed. Property owners would not be the sole bearers of the tax as sales tax is paid by everyone, including those visiting the lake area.

Bence said the Shelbyville School District is projected to receive approximately $390,000 per year for school facility purposes if the proposition passes.

Prior to the vote, Brad Halbrook, speaking as a business owner, voiced his disapproval of the tax stating that it would put his contract fencing business in a non-competitive position.

“I would have to pull money from my own pocket to get business,” he said. “Or I would have to pass the expense to my customers.” He estimated that it would cost him about $3,000 per year in extra taxes.

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