Proposed school district tax hikes range from 2 mills upward

By Bryan Richardson

USD 383’s property tax levy will increase by at least 2.048 mills, according to budget options reviewed by the school board Wednesday.

Budget director Lew Faust presented board members with four options during the meeting, all of which represented an increase from last year’s levy of 50.396 mills. Each option involved taking funds from cash reserves as well as increases in the local option tax.

The district is figuring out how to fund around $1.6 million in additional spending, a figure that is higher than the previous maximum it had looked at, which was nearly $1.33 million.

The change is due to a tentative agreement reached between the district and teachers last week that provides for a 2.5 percent salary and wage increase to all employee groups, and which also adds $750 on the base for certified teachers.

The board didn’t select an option at the meeting, but members indicated their preferences. As of right now, only the option with the highest mill levy — 52.697 mills — is completely off the table. Here’s a quick look at the remaining three options:

52.646 mills

The funding demands are met by using $690,000 from cash reserves and $922,397 from increasing the local option levy.

Selection of this levy would result in a residential tax bill of $559.43 in taxes per $100,000 in property value, an increase of $54.22 from last year.  That calculation factors in an approximate 4.9 percent average valuation increase for residences within the district over the two years. For a business, that impact would be $1,316.15 in taxes per $100,000 in assessed valuation, an increase of $117.86 from last year.

Darell Edie and Aaron Estabrook supported this option. They indicated they preferred it because it relied less on drawing into the cash reserves.

 

 

52.596 mills

The funding needs are met by using $720,000 from cash reserves and $880,661 from increasing the local option tax.

If this levy is chosen, that would result in a residential tax bill of $558.85 in taxes per $100,000 in property value, an increase of $53.64 from last year, using the same valuation growth assumptions. For a business, that impact would be $1,314.90 in taxes per $100,000 in assessed valuation, an increase of $116.61 from last year.

Edie, Estabrook, Marcia Rozell, Pat Hudgins and board vice-president Leah Fliter supported this plan. They liked the balance between the use of cash reserves and the mill levy increase.

 

 

52.444 mills

The funding needs are met by using $810,000 from cash reserves and $797,190 from increasing the local option levy.

If this is the mill levy, the result would be a residential tax bill of $557.11 per $100,000 in property value, an increase of $51.90 from last year, using the same valuation growth assumptions. For a business, that impact would be $1,311.10 in taxes per $100,000 in assessed valuation, an increase of $112.81 from last year.

This option received support from Rozell, Hudgins, Dave Colburn and board president Curt Herrman. They indicated a desire to keep the levy as low as possible.

 

 

The board is expected to pick one option when it authorizes publication of the 2013-14 budget during its next meeting Aug. 7. A final vote is Aug. 21 following a public hearing.

Also during Wednesday’s meeting, the school board gave final approval to purchasing an estimated 33 acres of land in Pottawatomie County.

The land is owned by Richard Kiner, trustee of the Kiner Residual Trust, Theresa H. Jones, trustee of the Jones Family 1994 Trust, and Kathleen Senn.

It is north of U.S. 24 along Lake Elbo Road and is estimated to cost $247,500 based on $7,500 per acre.

The land transaction doesn’t go into effect until BG Consultants gives the OK to the land’s usability as a site for a school building, according to the contract terms.

The school board has talked previously about the possibility of a new elementary school due to continued enrollment growth. In 2011, BG Consultants told the board that the district’s Miller Ranch property would be difficult and more expensive to build on because it’s on a hillside with an elevation drop of 60 to 80 feet.

USD 383 has until Aug. 1 to inspect the property to determine its potential usefulness for school construction purposes. The contract stipulates that the parties close the transaction no later than Sept. 2.









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