Editor's Note: The following is a press release from School District 196.
For the third year in a row, the property tax levy in District 196 will be less than the previous year.
At its Dec. 10 regular meeting, the School Board approved a final property tax levy for 2012 (payable 2013) that is 2.7 percent less than the current year. At $73.8 million, the payable 2013 levy is $2 million less than the payable 2012 levy of $75.8 million. For payable 2011 taxes, the district levy was $78.4 million, and for 2010, it was $79.4 million.
The Minnesota Department of Education calculates the maximum amount each school district may levy in several categories that support specific programs or expenditures. The final levy approved by the board Dec. 10 represents the maximum amount allowed by the state.
Director of Finance and Operations Jeff Solomon attributes this year’s tax levy decrease to three main factors, the largest being an $833,000 reduction in the debt service levy as a result of retiring debt and debt refinancing actions that were approved by the board the past two years. Second, the alternative facilities levy, which provides funding for building maintenance projects, is $617,000 less due to effective management of previous projects which resulted in cost savings that are being used to fund projects this year. The third factor, an increase of approximately $500,000 in state equalization aid, is the result of a fourth year of declining market values in the district. The decrease in referendum market value, from $13.7 billion to $13.3 billion, makes the district eligible to receive additional equalization aid from the state.
Approximately two-thirds of the district’s final levy is from voter-approved referendums, representing $47.5 million of the $73.8 million total for payable 2013.
Property taxes represent approximately 22 percent of the total revenues District 196 will receive this year. State aids and credits account for 66 percent, only 3 percent from federal aid and the remaining 9 percent from other sources such as grants and donations.