School Board to Increase Property Taxes—Again

The school board is set to adopt a tax levy that may increase the taxes on a median-valued  home ($350,000) by $308 next year.

A Truth in Taxation hearing was held as part of the Nov. 15 School Board meeting. State law requires a public hearing and disclosure when the estimated aggregate levy exceeds 105 percent of the amount of property taxes extended or estimated to be extended over the preceding year.  This has occurred for the first time in recent years due to inflation, according to the district’s Chief Financial Officer Tony Inglese.

The 2021 consumer price index (CPI) increase was 7 percent, yet the maximum extension that may be collected is 5 percent, according to Inglese, excluding the value of new construction added to the tax rolls. It is their standard practice to levy for more than the estimated limit to capture any unanticipated changes in property tax values.

The Truth in Taxation Law also requires disclosure of the Board’s current “cash reserve balance of all funds held by the district
related to its operational levy and, if applicable, any obligations secured by those funds.”

The fund reserve as of the end of October was over $77 million. Inglese acknowledged that this number was cited as a reason to
oppose the recent bond referendum, but said since the district only gets “paid” in June and September when property taxes come in, this money is needed to pay payrolls and bills through the end of the school year without having to resort to short term borrowing through tax anticipation warrants like they had to do up until 3 years ago. That $77 million is expected to drop to about $15-20 million before the next infusion of cash.

The tax levy will be approved as part of the regular Dec. 20 meeting.

There was a discussion of the bond referendum defeat but it was decided to delay consideration of alternatives until a future
meeting.

A special closed meeting is planned Dec. 3 to interview candidates for school superintendent.

Another special meeting is scheduled for Dec. 13.

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