Hamilton County Commission tables resolution to return PILOT money control to school system

Hamilton County Commission tables resolution to return PILOT money control to school system

September 28th, 2011 by Staff Report in Local - Breaking News

Hamilton County Commissioner Chester Bankston from District 9

Hamilton County Commissioner Chester Bankston agreed today to table his effort to return control of PILOT money to Hamilton County Schools.

He made the decision during a meeting between county commissioners and school board members and officials, including Superintendent Rick Smith.

PILOTs - which stands for payment in lieu of taxes - are tax breaks used to lure companies, such as Volkswagen. Under the agreements, businesses don't have to pay full property taxes for a certain number of years, but they must pay the share of property tax that is slated for schools.

Several school board members, Smith and Commission Education Committee Chairman Warren Mackey agreed to continue discussions about the funds after school board members have a chance to determine what proposals they will present to the commission on how to spend the money.

So far this year, PILOT funds have totaled total $1.15 million. By law, PILOT funds must be earmarked for education.

Last year, the County Commission, which gives the school system its budget money, took control of the PILOT funds, saying it would only give the dollars to the schools if they agreed to use it for school construction.

After the school board protested, Bankston and seven other commissioners voted in February that the commission would control the money produced by any PILOT agreements signed after the 2009 tax year. PILOT money from previous agreements still would go directly to the school system.

For complete details, see tomorrow's Times Free Press.