District 16 school board OKs proposed maximum tax levy

The Spring Lake Park District 16 School Board has approved the district’s portion of the 2013 proposed property tax levy for the maximum amount.

Another option would have been to approve a specific dollar amount. But approving the maximum amount allows for greater flexibility while the district and Minnesota Department of Education continue to make changes to the levy certification form through Oct 8, according to Amy Schultz, District 16’s business manager.

Schultz gave a presentation on the proposed property tax levy payable 2013 at a Sept. 25 school board/work session listed under discussion items on the meeting’s agenda.

Approving the maximum amount not only offers greater flexibility, it also allows room for the levy to be lowered until a final levy number is reached.

“We don’t expect anything to decrease for now, but for the average taxpayers, it’s very hard to say where this will land,” Schultz said in an interview.

The district will submit the proposed levy to the MDE and Anoka County Oct. 8.

Residents should expect their proposed property tax statements in the mail from Anoka County between Nov. 11 and 24.

The district will allow time for public testimony on the levy during the Dec. 18 school board meeting. The 2012-13 budget will be discussed and the board will certify the final levy that same evening.

Last year the board approved a 6.92 percent increase in the 2012 tax levy for $1.2 million, according to Schultz. “A million of that was the voter-approved technology levy,” Schultz said in an interview.

Had the voters not approved the technology levy Nov. 2011, the 2012 levy increase would have been about 1 percent.

District 16 continues to review ways to keep taxes down. In December 2010, it refinanced a debt obligation and saved district taxpayers more than $475,000 over the remaining debt payments, according to Schultz.

“We’re expecting another opportunity within the next two years that would have savings in the millions of dollars,” according to Schultz’s report.

As in the past, Schultz said she and staff will be available to answer residents’ questions before the Dec. 18 meeting at 6:30 p.m. The meeting will be held at the District Services Center, 1415 81 Ave. N.E., Spring Lake Park.

The taxable market value of residents’ homes is set by the county and cannot be changed at this time. The time to discuss market value increases is in the spring and with Anoka County’s local board of review.

School tax levies are limited and differ from other government taxing units, which can decide how much they can levy, Schultz said.

The limits are in place because “most of the levy is derived by a student formula-driven basis,” Schultz said in the interview.

Elyse Kaner is at elyse.kaner@ecm-inc.com

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