District caps levy hike at 8.9 percentThe numbers are still soft, but because a state statute indicates a preliminary levy must be approved by Oct. 7, the Red Wing School Board approved the 2012 preliminary tax levy Monday evening.
By: Sarah Gorvin, The Republican Eagle
The numbers are still soft, but because a state statute indicates a preliminary levy must be approved by Oct. 7, the Red Wing School Board approved the 2012 preliminary tax levy Monday evening.
“As of today, they still didn’t have the final number posted,” district Finance Director Brad Johnson said, referring to the Minnesota Department of Education.
Even without that final levy amount, the board approved 6-0 a levy for 2012-13 that would be at most an 8.9 percent increase over the current levy. Board member Mitch Boldt was absent.
Johnson stressed that the current levy dropped about 8.6 percent from the 2010-11 levy. He added that more pupils this year are what caused the levy to increase.
“We’re up on enrollment … by 134 residents pupil units,” he said. “That was the biggest driver in bringing the levy up.”
Other factors include an increased ice arena levy (needed for repairs) and increased health and safety insurance.
At the Sept. 19 Board meeting, Johnson showed a preliminary levy from the state indicating the 2012-13 levy would be about 3.5 percent lower than the current levy. But Johnson said at that meeting that the district’s bond consultant was looking over the proposed debt levy for possible mistakes.
The consultant found a “glitch” in the debt levy later that week, Johnson said, and the current proposed levy showing the 8.9 percent increase year is more accurate.
Now after board approval, the levy can decrease until it goes into effect, but cannot increase.
“We’ll look at it and see if we can reduce any components,” Johnson said.
The district’s truth-in-taxation hearing — when citizens are invited to weigh in on the levy — is scheduled for Dec. 5 during the board’s regular meeting.