Legislative changes bring reduction in District 11 tax levy

With increased state aid, the Anoka-Hennepin School District is able to slash its 2014 preliminary property tax levy.

pencil in handAt its Sept. 23 meeting, the school board approved a preliminary levy that provides more than $6.3 million in relief for taxpayers.

The total levy in 2013 is $98,561,192. The proposed levy in 2014 incorporates a 6.41 percent decrease to $92,245,501.

With revised equalization rates or formulas for referendum and location equity, career and technical, as well as operating capital revenues, aid has increased and levies have decreased.

“This is our local legislators passing additional tax relief for Anoka-Hennepin, so they get credit for all these dollars going back to taxpayers,” Board Chairperson Tom Heidemann said at the meeting.

An additional $10 million-plus in aid for referendum and location equity revenues corresponds with a proportional decrease in the levy. Total revenue will decrease minimally with a decline in enrollment.

In the past, no aid was available for the career and technical appropriation, but this year, the district will see more than $440,000 in aid with legislative changes. The levy will decrease by approximately $165,000 with total revenue of more than $1 million.

The operating capital funds will see around $1.16 million in additional state government aid, and the levy will decrease a little less than that, about $970,000, to total nearly $9.2 million.

A new student achievement levy, created in this year’s legislative session and implemented statewide, will provide $621,013 in new revenue for the district.

The alternative facilities levy will increase significantly from almost $600,000 to more than $8 million.

“The past several years, we’ve been pushing off projects in order to balance the tax levy and maintain a zero percent increase …,” said Michelle Vargas, chief financial officer for the district, at the board meeting.

With decreasing debt – more than $2.4 million this year and an expected $12 million next year, according to Vargas – the district will increase the alternative facilities levy to pay for six elementary renovations, among other projects. The renovations are necessary when the kindergarten population explodes as all-day, everyday kindergarten begins next fall.

Overall, the tax levy continues its downward trend. The levy has not increased in four years.

The preliminary levy cannot be increased, but the board can reduce it before the final levy is certified in December.

The Truth in Taxation hearing is scheduled for 6 p.m. Dec. 9 at the Sandburg Education Center as part of the regular school board meeting. The school board plans to certify the final tax levy that same evening.

Olivia Koester is at
[email protected]