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Brainerd School Board certifies 2012 levy

The Brainerd School Board Monday certified the 2012 final levy, which includes the voter-approved operating levies passed during the Nov. 8 general election.

Steve Lund, director of business services, said the annual levy will increase by about 7 percent, which represents the addition of the $200 per pupil unit levy, the second ballot question approved on the Nov. 8 ballot by taxpayers. The first question was a renewal of an expiring $199.24 per pupil unit operating levy so that portion did not change from 2011.

Overall the district’s general fund ended the fiscal year 2011 with $70,513,492 in revenues and $71,518,344 in expenditures with an unassigned fund balance of $8,260,998. The food service fund contained $2,457,683 in revenues and $3,384,748 in expenditures with a fund balance of $390,223. The community education fund had $2,363,951 in revenues and $2,287,024 in expenditures with a fund balance ending with $434,688. The debt service fund had $9,841,657 in revenues and $10,547,362 in expenditures with a fund balance of $1,567,853. The OPEB benefits fund had $2,809,054 in revenues and $103,252 in expenditures with a fund balance of $26,350,575.

Lund said the district receives 78 percent of its revenues from the state, 13 percent from local taxpayers and 9 percent from federal funds. Of these funds, 50 percent are used for general education instruction, 26 percent for special education instruction, six percent for transportation, 12 percent for operations and maintenance, 4 percent for administration and 2 percent for athletics and activities.

The district’s voter-approved referendum brought in $1,477,964 to the district in 2011; this will increase to $2,868,106 in 2012 because of passage of the referendum questions in November, a $1,390,142 increase.

Lund said generally the core amounts of the school levy experienced decreases because of the slight decrease in student enrollment.

The total tax levy amount will increase from $15,786,225 to $16,845,879, a $1,059,654 increase.

Lund said the combined voter-approved levy amounts will generate about $3.2 million annually for the district. The tax impact over the 2011 taxes will be $37.98 a year for a $100,000 property. This amount is not reflected on the most recent property tax statements received from the Crow Wing County Auditor’s Office but will be included on property tax statements mailed out in the early spring, Lund said.

Lund provided board members with his own property tax statements for his home in Baxter to show how the voter-approved levies would affect him.

Lund showed how he took his estimated market value for his home, taxes payable in 2012, which is $189,600. He demonstrated how his school tax portion would have gone down by about 3.5 percent if the operating levies had not passed. Now the school tax portion would increase by about 5.2 percent. He cautioned that everyone’s property is different and the impact on the homestead tax credit also plays a factor.

“Folks will see the actual numbers in their property tax bill in early spring that will reflect the total changes,” said Lund.

No one attending the board meeting spoke during the open forum portion of the truth in taxation hearing.

JODIE TWEED may be reached at or 855-5858.