Bay District School leaders look to raise millage rate to help pay for salary increases

Bay County

BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — Voters in Bay County will soon be deciding on a proposal that would raise their property taxes.

Bay District School Board leaders are asking Bay County residents to approve a one mill operational tax increase.

“We need the public’s help, and this is the way they can help us,” said ABCE Vice President, Alexis Underwood.

The so-called operational millage increase is in addition to the regular property taxes the school district already collects.

“This is what over 20 counties in the state of Florida have this additional operating millage and now it’s time for voters to decide if this something we want to do.” said Superintendent of Schools, Bill Huselt.

Board members say they need the extra revenue to help to pay for staff salaries increase, school safety costs and other important items.

“We are losing qualified educators, paraprofessionals and bus drivers to other jobs in our communities and other counties right next door.” said Underwood.

Now that the school board has approved this potential increase, the next step involves county commissioners.

From here the next step in this process relies heavily on the Bay County Commission. If this referendum is passed by commissioners it will then go before voters on the April ballot.

School board members are hoping voters will see the need and pass the referendum.

“We’re asking them to support county commissioners and putting this on the ballot. And everyone who cares about the children of Bay County to come out and vote yes on this referendum in April.” said Underwood.

School leaders say these funds will in turn come back into the economy.

“If teachers, support, or bus drivers make more money then they’re going to spend more money and that’s going to come back to us one way or another,” said Superintendent Husfelt.

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