School district approves 14 percent levy drop
WILLMAR -- The Willmar Public Schools' property tax levy for 2015 is expected to drop 14 percent from this year's levy. The district is about to finish paying for the 20-year-old Willmar Senior High, and that is the biggest reason for the reducti...
WILLMAR - The Willmar Public Schools’ property tax levy for 2015 is expected to drop 14 percent from this year’s levy.
The district is about to finish paying for the 20-year-old Willmar Senior High, and that is the biggest reason for the reduction, said Pam Harrington, the district’s director of business and finance.
The amount levied from local taxpayers to be paid in 2015 will be $4.23 million. The levy paid this year was $4.93 million.
The School Board approved a preliminary levy last week. The final levy will be adopted following a Truth in Taxation hearing to be held at 6:01 p.m. Dec. 8, she said.
Counties, cities and townships have more latitude than school districts in setting their local levies.
For school districts, the majority of the local property tax levy is determined by the Minnesota Department of Education. The only portion controlled locally is a small part of the levy approved by local voters in a referendum.
The local levy is combined with state and federal aid and other funding sources to fund a general fund budget of about
$47 million. The majority of school funding comes from state aid.
The final $890,000 bond payment on the high school will reduce the 2015 levy.
However, changes in state law have adjusted the general education levy and changed the amount of money the state contributes toward locally approved levies. Those adjustments and an 8 percent increase in the community education levy added some money back to the levy.
The end result is a proposed $700,000 reduction in the local property tax levy.
Local governments must set preliminary levies in September each year and then adopt their final levies before the end of the calendar year.