The Washington School Board Wednesday night approved a property tax rate levy of $4.1779, which includes a voluntary rollback of $0.1472.
The 2017-18 rate was set following a public hearing at the start of the regular monthly meeting. There were no public comments.
Superintendent Dr. Lori VanLeer said the board could have rolled up the debt service levy to about 61 cents, but instead only levied the amount needed to make its bond payments and keep a one-year reserve.
The debt service levy did increase about 10 cents to accommodate the payment scheduled in fiscal year 2018. The board will re-evaluate the debt service levy for fiscal year 2019, anticipating another voluntary rollback.
VanLeer noted the district’s tax rate levy, and in particular its debt service levy, is significantly lower than area school districts.
School officials said the tax levy calculation has been reviewed by the state auditor’s office. Due to this review, the tax levy calculations did change slightly from the hearing notice posted in the newspaper.
It was noted the shift in new construction from locally assessed to state assessed was not as great as initially estimated.
The breakdown for the 2017-18 rate is as follows:
Incidental — $3.5883.
Capital Projects — $0.1196.
Debt Service — $0.4700.
Last year’s tax rate was $4.0738.
The tax rates are set to produce the revenues which the budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2017, shows to be required from property tax.
Each tax rate is determined by dividing the amount of revenue needed by the current assessed valuation. The result is multiplied by 100 so the tax rate will be expressed in cents per $100 valuation.
School districts are required to set their levy on or before Sept. 1 following the state auditor’s approval of the board of equalization valuations received by the district in August of each year.
VanLeer notes the property tax rate assumes that assessed valuation will grow about 2 percent.
The district’s assessed valuation for 2017 is projected at $764,104,485, which breaks down to $596,937,807 in real estate and $167,166,678 for personal property.
Revenue from new construction is estimated at $741,531.