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Board backs 20-cent tax increase for new school

During a public hearing to discuss the town’s $72.6 million budget for the 2016 fiscal year and a proposed 15-cent property tax increase to fund the construction of a new high school, the Collierville Board of Mayor and Aldermen on Monday backed an even higher rate of 20 cents in order to fund the estimated $99 million school.

After two failed motions, the first to keep the rate increase at 15 cents and the second to raise it to 30 cents, board members voted 5-1 for a 20-cent rate increase. Alderman Tom Allen voted against the motion. The town’s current property tax rate is $1.53 per $100 of assessed value.

All revenue from the tax increase would fund the high school.
Several residents spoke out for and against the decision to move forward swiftly with the new school, with the majority speaking in favor.

Many residents donated their speaking time to John George, who asked the board to “think creatively” before making a decision to immediately fund the new school, which could be built on 160 acres on Sycamore Road.

“The citizens were evenly split when you surveyed them,” he said. “Maybe put it out to a vote of the citizens and let them decide. I think we are trying to ramrod something down the citizen’s throat that is very controversial.”

Mike Tebbe, a Collierville resident for 36 years, said he is a proponent of moving forward to build a new high school.

“A large reason for Collierville’s growth is because of people moving for the schools,” he noted. “The final piece of the school puzzle that needs to be put in place is providing adequate facilities for our present and future enrollment needs. That is to build one high school for the entire community.”

The board will vote on the tax rate on third and final reading on June 22.

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