Washinton School Board Approves 2013 Property Tax Levy - The Missourian: Local News

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Washinton School Board Approves 2013 Property Tax Levy

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Posted: Saturday, August 31, 2013 6:32 pm | Updated: 11:06 am, Wed Sep 4, 2013.

The Washington School Board set its 2013 property tax rate following a public hearing Wednesday night.

The new levy is $4.0205 per $100 assessed valuation — 19 cents higher than last year.

There were no public comments and little discussion among board members who had met earlier this month in a work session to discuss various options with the levy.

The district is facing a drop of about $46 million in assessed valuation in the county — which equates to a loss of $1.8 million.

School officials initially were told to expect a $33 million decrease in assessed valuation and learned just last week that it would be even greater.

School officials were scheduled to meet with county Assessor Tom Copeland Thursday to seek additional information on the significant drop in assessed valuation and to review data.

“I don’t know how we could withstand a $1.8 million loss annually and we’re told we haven’t seen the worst of it,” said Superintendent Dr. Lori VanLeer. “There’s lots of questions to be answered. As soon as we get those answers, we will share them with you.”

Total assessed valuation for 2013 for the district is estimated at $712,055,289, which breaks down to $548,920,934 for real estate and $163,134,355 for personal property.

The 2012 assessed valuation was $758,486,084, with $603,925,414 for real estate and $154,560,670 for personal property.

Revenue from new construction for 2013 is estimated at $3,416,774.

The district projects a loss of about $6,393,349 or 24 percent in new revenue from reassessment.

The breakdown for the 2013 tax levy rate is as follows:

Incidental Fund — $3.2988.

Debt Service Fund — $0.3317.

Capital Projects Fund — $0.3900.

VanLeer noted the debt service levy includes a voluntary rollback of 26 cents.

“That’s a pretty significant voluntary rollback,” she said.

The tax rates are set to produce the revenues which the budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2013, 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.

Superintendent Dr. Lori VanLeer has expressed concerns with the district’s worsening revenue situation and said budget changes will need to be made. She also said the district will need to look at shrinking its footprint.

VanLeer said the funding losses are unfortunate because of the many goals the district has set.

The district also could lose upward of $800,000-plus in state funding if House Bill 253 is passed over the governor’s veto in September.

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