Board hears preliminary ’13 levy numbers

A preliminary proposed 2013 property tax levy payable in 2014 was presented to the Independent School District 834 Board Thursday by the district Director of Finance Kristen Hoheisel.

The preliminary levy is split into three main categories: a general fund, community service, and debt service levies.

The board is required to approve a preliminary levy that is submitted to the Washington County Auditor and sent to residents. Revisions to the levy continue to be made which most likely will change the final levy. The total amount for all three levies currently stand at $22.3 million. Final approval of the levy would occur in December after a state-required Truth In Taxation hearing Dec. 5.

Hoheisel took the group briefly through some areas of note on the preliminary levy and encouraged the board to approve the maximum amount possible. She added that the board can set a levy under the maximum amount, but cannot go over the approved preliminary levy.

The levy referendum request, approved by the board this summer, stands at $1,536.47 per pupil and the revenue request has not changed, remaining at $16.2 million for a revenue goal. That figure includes the $11.1 million the school district needs to continue current programs and $5.2 million for security improvements and paying for the new Bridge to Excellence strategic plan. Impacts to homeowners of a $250,000 home if the referendum is approved would be $167.31 per year.

The general fund levy total stands at $11.7 million. This is down significantly from last year due to the fact that the referendum results aren’t known. Because of this, a $0 amount has been entered in to the operating referendum portion of the levy.

“Right now that is listed as a zero because at this point in this preliminary stage, we can only report what we know, and the referendum will expire” Hoheisel said. “As we get closer to December it will change.”

Hoheisel also pointed out that the facilities portion of the levy had increased significantly from last year.

“This levy shows that it currently stands at $3.5 million, while last year it was $2.2 million,” Hoheisel said. “Usually Dennis (Bloom) and his team try to keep that as flat and consistent as possible, between the $3 and $4 million mark, but they backed away from some roofing and flooring improvements that were slated for last year due to inconsistent bids and they’ll be revisiting that project this year,” Hoheisel said.

The community services preliminary levy total stands at $894,949.87. This portion of the budget includes community education classes, early childhood education, home visits, school-age care and adults with disabilities. Hoheisel expects that figure to change as numbers continue being run and total enrollment numbers won’t be known until Oct. 1.

Hoheisel said a couple of elementary schools will also be coming off of their debt service this year which will allow for some flexibility going forward. The current balance listed in the debt service amount is $9.7 million

The district’s preliminary levy must be sent to the county Monday. The county is expected to send the tax impact statements to residents before the Dec. 5 truth-in-taxation hearing.

Contact Avery Cropp at [email protected]