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The District 196 School Board on Sept. 26 approved a proposed 2016 (payable 2017) property tax levy at the state maximum levy limitation. At the time it was calculated prior to the board meeting, the district’s maximum proposed levy was $88.8 million, approximately $3.2 million (3.8 percent) more than the current year’s levy of $85.6 million.

Finance Director Jeff Solomon said the three biggest reasons for the levy increase are the voter-approved inflationary increase the district receives each year on its 2013 operating levy, a reduction in state equalization aid that has shifted funding responsibility from the state to the local levy, and enrollment growth.

The maximum levy limitation is determined by the Minnesota Department of Education for each public school district in the state. The School Board will certify a final levy at its Dec. 12 regular meeting. By law, the final levy amount may not be greater than the proposed levy, except for adjustments made by the state.

The district’s proposed levy will be submitted to Dakota County, which will mail notices to property owners in mid-November showing estimated taxes based on proposed levies approved by the school district, cities, the county and other taxing agencies.

Solomon said that local school taxes on last year’s $258,000 average-value home in District 196 will increase by just 0.2 next year, if there was no increase in the assessed value of the home. If the assessed value of last year’s average-value home increased to the current district average of $264,000, Solomon said the increase in school taxes would be approximately 2.8 percent or $36.42 for the year.

Local property taxes represent approximately 20 percent of the revenues District 196 will receive this year. The other sources are state aids and credits (61 percent), federal aid (4 percent) and the remaining 15 percent from other sources such as self-insurance, gifts, donations and miscellaneous revenues such as food service fees, activity fees and admissions.

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