Preliminary tax levy shows large decrease in Dist. 15

Staff Writer
I cover the cities of Andover, Blaine and Ramsey. I have worked at ABC Newspapers since August 2007.

The St. Francis School Board unanimously voted to approve the maximum 2018 preliminary property tax levy at its meeting Sept. 25.

Board Member Jill Anderson was absent for the vote.

The maximum looks to be approximately $8.3 million, which is a 29.3 percent decrease from the 2017 tax levy of $11.74 million.

The large decrease can primarily be attributed to declining debt in the district.

“Your debt is really falling off,” said Bernice Humnick, business director. “Your principal and interest payments are changing.”

Funding formulas set by the state determine how much the district can levy in a given year.

“The state really has the authorization to set all of the components,” Humnick said. “The state sets the maximum authorized property tax levy.”

Approving the maximum preliminary levy, rather than a set figure, “allows you to have some flexibility until the final certification has been completed,” Humnick said. The state continues to make changes to funding formula calculations through the month of September.

The final levy can decrease, but not increase, excepting a successful referendum Nov. 7.

The final levy will be certified by the board following a Truth in Taxation public hearing Dec. 11.

If the preliminary levy holds, taxes on a $150,000 home will decrease significantly, more than 50 percent with a $148 drop.

If a bond referendum seeking $80.06 million, primarily to address facility needs and maintenance projects districtwide, is approved by voters Nov. 7, the tax impact will be relatively neutral for that same homeowner. Taxes will increase $1.22 annually.

There was no discussion by board members before the preliminary levy was approved.

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