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Residents won't see huge change in Brainerd school taxes

Taxpayers in the Brainerd School District should be pleased when they see their 2016 property taxes, as their statements won't increase as much as they did in 2015.

The Brainerd School Board Monday approved a preliminary 0.72 percent increase for the 2016 levy. The final levy in 2015 increased 11.2 percent, much higher than it will in 2016. The preliminary levy of 0.72 percent can be decreased before it's finalized in December, but it cannot be increased.

The district's preliminary levy for 2016 is proposed to be $18,705,171, an increase of $133,974 from the final levy in 2015. Of the proposed tax levy collected in 2016, the school district will place about $9 million in the general fund; $572,000 in the community education fund; and $9 million in the debt service fund.

Steve Lund, director of business services for the district, said the annual property tax levy is driven mainly by enrollment. The adjusted pupil units in 2015-16 is estimated at 6,999 and for 2016-17 the units estimate is 7,124. The adjusted pupil units is the district's enrollment count of students attending school in the district, not students who reside in the district, Lund said.

The school district operates a total combined fund budget of $95 million. Generating revenue of about $19 million, the proposed local property tax levy only accounts for about 20 percent of the school district's combined fund annual budget, Lund said in his presentation report.

Lund wrote, "Because the local property tax levy represents this level of the school district's overall budget, the increase in the proposed 2016 local property tax levy represents a 0.72 percent increase of the previous year's property tax levy amount, but the increase amount only represents about 0.014 percent of the overall combined funds budget for the school district."

Lund said components that impact the school district's property tax levy are student achievement, Q-Comp or alternative teacher compensation revenue, operating capital, re-employment and health and safety and deferred maintenance, building lease levy, safe schools and technical education levy.

In 2014, Lund said the total taxable market value of property in the school district was $4.7 billion and the net tax capacity was $52,371,741.

In Lund's report, he said, "Over the past decade, property values in our school district increased more than the average of the total school district property across the state, but in recent years, our district property values have also experienced higher decreases in property values than the state average."

JENNIFER STOCKINGER may be reached at jennifer.stockinger@brainerddispatch.com or 218-855-5851. Follow me at www.twitter.com/jennewsgirl on Twitter.

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