WILLMAR — School property taxes in the Willmar School District are essentially the same for the 2021 property tax bill.
The Willmar School Board has set its property tax levy to be paid in 2021 after the annual Truth-in-Taxation hearing Monday.
The levy paid in 2021 will decrease about $5,000, to $8.165 million. Taxes paid in 2021 will be used to fund the school district’s 2021-22 school year.
Business and Finance Director Kathryn Haase described the changes in the levy from last year.
Haase said a stable school levy doesn’t necessarily mean taxes on an individual property will stay the same. City, township and county property taxes are included in the property tax bill plus assessments or special taxing districts.
According to information she provided at the meeting, the local property tax levy makes up 9.7% of the revenue in the general fund, which supports most school district operations.
The district’s overall annual revenue is about $71.4 million. Most of the $61.5 million general fund revenue comes from sources outside the local levy — 87% from the state government, 3% from the federal government.
About 66% of the general fund is spent on student instruction and nearly 14% instruction and pupil support services. Building costs make up a little more than 12%, and administration costs make up 4%.
While all parts of the tax levy changed from one year to the next, the final total is very close to the levy adopted a year ago.
The school tax levy is made up of four parts — voter-approved operating levy, general fund, community education fund and debt service fund. State formulas control each of them to some extent.
An operating levy is approved by local voters in a referendum, but a state formula determines how much local voters pay and how much will come from state matching funds.
Local taxpayers will pay about $120,000 for the local levy next year, an increase of about 7% from what they paid this year.
In the general fund, local taxpayers will pay about $4.1 million, 1.6% more than paid this year.
For community education, taxpayers will pay about $357,000, a decrease of 10.25%.
Debt service for the 2015 bond issue voters approved will be about $3.58 million next year, a decrease of about $36,000 or 1%.
The amount levied for bond payments can fluctuate because of a state law that requires districts to levy 105% of their bond payments each year, to allow for possible delinquent taxes.
Over time, a surplus builds in the bond fund which can be used only for bond payments. The state will lower local property taxes periodically and use the surplus for a bond payment.