Voters will decide on property tax hike - KiiiTV.com South Texas, Corpus Christi, Coastal Bend

Voters will decide on property tax hike

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The Port Arthur Independent School District is asking voters to increase taxes in order to make up the seven million dollars in state funding they are losing.

Mark Melancon has lived in Port Arthur all his life and now with two of his children going to school in the district he's torn on whether to vote for or against the tax increase.

"If it's for the schools and it's necessary, you know, we don't have a choice but should not affect senior citizens, people on fixed incomes that can't afford property increases," said Melancon.

On September 25th city voters will take to the polls to decide if they want to pay more taxes to fund the school district.

If voters approve the tax increase then the property sales taxes in Port Arthur will go up 13 percent. So for example if you own a $50,000 home you will be paying $40 more a year.

One of the reasons Jeff Lieby and his family moved to Port Arthur three years ago was for the low property taxes.

"If the school district wants to raise the taxes I may consider moving my family elsewhere," said Lieby.

But the districts assistant superintendent says if the vote is passed the new property tax rate should generate three-point-five million dollars to help pay teacher salaries, upgrade school buses and restock teaching supplies that had previously been cut.

"If they're going to use the money purely to equip teachers with better teaching tools then I think it's a pretty good idea," said Lieby.

"But I just wish we had some other sort of federal aid to assist with that to avoid the tax increase," said Melancon.

Whether you're for raising money for the school district or against tax increases the final decision is in the hands of the Port Arthur voters come September.

If passed the new property tax rate will also help fund $4 million in building improvements to the schools in the district.

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