“Five million dollars is what we, the district, with our tax base, is all we qualify for,” Jackson explained of the amount for new construction.
“We have plans underway with architects, engineers and construction managers.”
Not all areas of the county generate the same revenue from a penny of tax.
Jackson noted that in Strawn “It takes 10 cents [per $100 taxable property value] in our tax base to generate $1 million.”
Not far away, Palo Pinto ISD is also asking voters to pass a bond – $3 million largely for updates, security, renovations and an addition to their existing building. Unlike Strawn, Palo Pinto’s tax base is such that the proposed bond would add 4 cents per $100 taxable valuation.
Much of PPISD’s revenue comes from properties at Possum Kingdom Lake, whereas Jackson said Strawn’s is mostly ranch land, which often has agricultural as well as homestead tax exemptions.
Crawford said he opposes Strawn ISD’s bond mainly because of timing.
“Wait a few years and it would be much better,” he advised.
“The last five years in the cattle business has been an absolute disaster,” said Crawford, a cattle rancher. He cited rising costs of feed and fuel, combined with a multiple-year drought and the devastating PK Complex fire, which burned much of the area, including his family’s grazing land.
“It’s hard for me to get my arms around and support a 43-percent tax increase,” he said. He reiterated for trustees to “wait a few years down the road” and do the construction-bond process, “maybe slower.”
Bill Hinkson said he wanted to make sure the wording on the ballot was “clear and concise so people know what they are voting for.”
He asked if there is any way the board can remove the bond from the ballot, to which Strawn ISD’s accountant Cameron Gulley said “No.”