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BRAINERD SCHOOL BOARD: ‘12 levy certified

The Brainerd School Board certified the preliminary Pay 2012 Levy in a special board meeting Thursday.

So what does these mean for those who pay Brainerd school taxes next year?

It depends on whether taxpayers approve the upcoming operating levy referendum. 

Steve Lund, director of business services, said as it stands the proposed levy for 2012 will be decreasing by $2.15 million, or 13.6 percent. Of this, a $1.9 million reduction is attributed to the expiration of the $199.24 per pupil operating levy. 

If voters decide Nov. 8 to support the first ballot question to renew the $199.24 per pupil operating levy, then the annual school levy would increase from the proposed $13.6 million to about $15.5 million. However, the overall levy would still decrease by about $279,905 in 2011, Lund explained.

If the second ballot question for an additional $200 per pupil operating levy were to pass, the extra $1.37 million in increased revenue would increase the overall school levy amount by $1.09 million from 2011.

Lund said based on this a $100,000 home located in the district, with both questions passing, would experience a total school tax increase on average of 10.8 percent, or $31 a year, or $2.58 per month. 

The average school taxes paid on a $100,000 home in the district are $284 a year. In comparison, the state average is $374 a year. When compared to schools of similar size,  including Alexandria, Bemidji, St. Cloud, Mankato, Little Falls, Willmar and Moorhead, the average annual school tax of this group is $337 on a $100,000 home. 

Lund said other major factors affecting school taxes are that total taxable market value in the district has decreased, along with the elimination of the homestead credit by lawmakers during the most recent legislative session. 

Total taxable market value in the district declined by 10 percent in 2010, which includes exclusion of the homestead credit. 

The net tax capacity in the district in 2010 is $58 million, a 10 percent decrease from $64 million in the previous year. Included in this 10 percent decrease is about $2.5 million in reduced tax capacity resulting from the homestead market value exclusion.

Lund said even if the school levy remained the same next year, school taxes would still increase by about 2 percent because of the decline in market values and the homestead tax exclusion. When market value decreases, then taxpayers typically pay more in taxes, particularly commercial properties, because of the current tax rate system, Lund explained. 

Lund said the school levy represents about 13 percent of the school district’s budget.

JODIE TWEED may be reached at or 855-5858.