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Proposed AISD bond to raise homeowner taxes if passed

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As city elections draw near, so does the possibility of an increased tax rate for certain homeowners in Amarillo.

If voters pass the proposed Amarillo Independent School District bond, AISD students will see the effect of that $99.45 million bond in expanded classrooms, enhanced security and other upgrades throughout the district. But district homeowners could also feel small effects, too, in the form of an increased tax rate.

"We are overcrowded. We are busting at the seams," said John Ben Blanchard, Vice President of the Board of Trustees for AISD. "We have scores and scores of portable buildings."

With 3,000 more students that it had five years ago, AISD has found the need to up its budget.  Meaning an increase in tax rates for district homeowners, as well.

"For the average home, which is roughly $107,000, those homeowners would roughly pay 18 dollars a year more than they're currently paying," explained Blanchard.

It's a slight up tick in taxes, but one local realtors said shouldn't affect most homeowners too much.

"You never see your taxes go down, but they will rise but there's not ever really a significant amount where it's very noticeable," said Lisa Pedigo, a real estate agent for Keller Williams. "Most people that I show homes to all have children and all see the need to improve the schools."

The increase would only apply those living inside the Amarillo district. But, those same home owners are still paying off a similar bond passed by AISD ten years ago.

"It was over $100 million and it, too, was used to build schools and make additions similar in nature to what we have now," added Blanchard. "Typically, they're long term bonds and so the pay out goes over a 20 to 30 year period."

Even still, AISD's tax rate has stayed the same for the last five years, making now the perfect time, district officials say, to give a little and get a lot.

"For Amarillo to continue to grow, we've got to provide employers and prospective employers, and a good academic environment," he said. 'So that they'll move here and raise they're families here and build new businesses here."

City elections, including a vote on this bond, are Saturday, May 11. But even if the bond is passed, senior citizens who've had their taxes frozen will not be affected by the tax increase.

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