• Marion Co. seeks increase in property tax to cover schools


    MARION COUNTY, Fla. - Marion County residents will soon be asked a third time to tax themselves to help cover school costs.

    Voters have twice voted down similar proposals. The new deal could bring in about $15 million a year for the Marion County school district.

    Parents like Chris Oliver said they know the Marion school district is going through tough times.

    "A lot of people around here have a problem with raising taxes. I really don't as long as it's going for a good cause," Oliver said.

    The school board hopes most residents agree and will approve a 1 mill bump in property tax to restore programs.

    The last time it came up in August 2012, voters said no.

    As a result, jobs and programs including art and music classes were cut.

    "I think really our school board feels the community has felt the impact of the budget cutbacks to the point where it really hits home with them," Kevin Christian of Marion County Schools said.

    Officials say the tax increase would be in place for four years, bringing in about $15 million per year, costing the average homeowner an extra $150 at tax time.

    "I'd probably do it. I'm for the school. I have children. I have grandchildren. I want the best for them. Whatever is best," grandparent Rene Villarreal said.

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