Huntington Votes Yes

ANGELINA COUNTY (KTRE) - On a day when many voters across East Texas rejected the idea of a tax rollback election, no matter the reason, Huntington Independent School District managed to sway voters to say yes.

In a final count of 937 votes for and 441 votes against, voters approved a tax increase of 13 cents on the maintenance and operations tax rate.

The District will now draft a letter to Angelina County Tax Assessor Collector Midget Sherman stating that in August, Huntington school trustees voted to set the school property tax rate from $1.37 to $1.50 per $100 valuation.  On Tuesday, November 4, voters ratified the school board's decision.

Property tax notices went out this week, but for Huntington property owners the school taxes were not included.  Now that the rate has been decided, Huntington taxpayers should be receiving those notices shortly.

School Superintendent Eric Wright says Huntington ISD lost 660-thousand dollars last year to the State due to the fact that HISD has provided taxpayer relief in the form of the optional 20 percent local homestead exemption and due to a change in the State funding formula.

Proponents say the District had few choices, a tax increase, do away with the additional 20 percent homestead exemption, or drastically cut programs and personnel.  They choice the rollback election.

Since Huntington is a property poor school district, the State will match every dollar generated locally at approximately a three dollars to one dollar match.  HISD officials estimate with the approval of the tax ratification, the 13 cent increase will generate approximately 260-thousand dollars locally and a match from the State of 920-thousand dollars.

"We decided of all of those proposals that that was the lesser of three evils and so we decided to go for the tax rollback election to ask the voters to ratify an additional 13 cents that we could generate about 1.3 million dollars for our school district," said Superintendent Wright.