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District 196 approves proposed property tax levy at maximum level

 The District 196 School Board approved a proposed 2020 (payable 2021) property tax levy Sept. 28 at the maximum amount allowed by the state. The proposed levy is $121,465,415, an increase of $5,388,113 or 4.6 percent compared to the levy for payable 2020 property taxes. 

The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) calculates the maximum levy limitation for each public school district in the state. By law, the final levy approved by the board in December may not be greater than the proposed levy, except for adjustments made by the state and voter-approved operating levy increases.

The 2020 property tax levy will provide revenue for the 2021-22 school year. For many of the individual levy categories that make up the district’s total tax levy, there is corresponding state aid that would be reduced if the district levies less than the maximum amount in those categories.

In mid-November, Dakota County will mail notices to individual property owners showing estimated taxes based on proposed levies approved by the school district, cities, the county and other taxing agencies. The School Board will certify the district’s final 2020 property tax levy after holding a truth-in-taxation hearing during its Dec. 14 regular meeting.

Director of Finance and Operations Mark Stotts told the board the three main reasons for the increase this year are projected enrollment increases, an inflationary increase to the operating levy approved by District 196 voters last November, and the sale of certificates of participation in April to finance installation of artificial turf fields at Eagan and Rosemount high schools. He said the turf projects represent about 1 percent of the proposed increase.

Stotts said the district’s tax capacity and market capacity rates increased by approximately 7 percent, meaning taxes are spread over a larger tax base. The tax impact on a particular property, he added, will depend on its assessed value. If a property’s assessed value did not increase from last year, he said the increase in school taxes would be less than the 4.6 percent increase to the district’s proposed 2020 property tax levy.

Local property taxes represent approximately 20 percent of the operating revenues District 196 will receive this year. The other sources are state aids and credits (74 percent), federal aid (3 percent) and the remaining 3 percent from other sources such as self-insurance, gifts, donations and miscellaneous revenues such as food service fees, activity fees and admissions.