School levy increase OK’d

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 21, 1999

The school district’s proposed 2000 levy was set at the maximum $8.

Tuesday, September 21, 1999

The school district’s proposed 2000 levy was set at the maximum $8.2 million Monday, showing about a 5 percent increase from the current levy.

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But while the proposed levy is up about $400,000, it doesn’t include educational tax credits that property owners will receive; the credits will lower the local share of the $25 million overall budget.

The increase is also not the sole result of the local school board’s action Monday. It didn’t have to set the levy at the maximum allowed by the state, but if it didn’t, the state’s 67.41 percent share of the budget would also decrease, said Mark Stotts, district director of finance and operations.

The levy is not final until after truth-in-taxation hearings are held in December; the board can still lower the levy, but cannot increase the amount set Monday.

With the majority of state aid based on enrollment counts and district enrollment continuing to decline, Stotts recommended that the board approve the maximum proposed levy.

&uot;Just because property taxes are increasing it doesn’t mean our total revenues are going up,&uot; he said, adding the board only controls 7.16 percent, or $588,398.53, of the budget.

&uot;The way the system is designed the board has very little control over it.&uot;

Instead, Stotts said the levy increase is due mostly to rising market values in the district.

&uot;We do have an increase this year. It’s not do to any action of the board,&uot; he said. &uot;It’s driven by higher market values in the district this year. Houses are selling at a higher rate than the appraised value. It’s just a function of market levels.&uot;

And, the 5 percent increase is a district average. Some property owners could see a decrease based on market value.

Of the $25,178,021 million estimated budget, the state will fund $16,973,463, or 67.41 percent. The local $8,204,558 levy is 32.59 percent of the estimated budget, which doesn’t include federal funds and money the district receives for special services.

&uot;Of the total budget, local property taxes make up about 25 percent of it,&uot; Stotts said. &uot;Plus, this is the last year we make payments on the 1991 referendum. We will see a decrease in this levy next year.&uot;