Leon Residents Could See Tax Increase

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Parents and grandparents lined up outside Gilchrist Elementary to wait for the school day to end on Tuesday.

The Leon County School system stands to gain an extra $4-million in tax money this next year.

"I love Gilchrist, it's been a good school to my daughter, but yes, if the money can be used for children, it should be used for the children," said Gilchrist parent Melinda Walker.

The good news for Leon County homeowners, property values are up 3.6 percent from last year, more than half a billion dollars.

That fact coupled with a state mandated slight increase in the tax rate means Leon County Schools stands to gain $4-million in additional revenue or about 3.7 percent more money than they're getting this year.

"I'm all for the schools and children, education, books, teaching them how to write cursive," said Mary Hopkins who's granddaughter attends Gilchrist.

"Let's say we wanted to give salary increases, a 1% salary increase is $1.8 dollars, so $4-million is a little more than 2 percent for a salary increase for all employees, that's significant money," said Leon Schools Chief Financial Officer Merrill Wimberley.

"I would like to see it given to the teachers that do all the work," said Alana Halley, who's granddaughter attends Gilchrist.

The school board will debate what to do with the money.

One option to be discussed is to cut other tax rates to match the increase.

As it stands now that increase would mean someone who owns a $200,000 home would pay an additional $6.65 in taxes.

"That's not enough money for it to just be returned," said Walker.

The school board will make a decision when it passes a final budget in September.

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