Brainerd School District taxpayers will see a slight decrease in their property tax levy in 2014.
The Brainerd School Board voted Thursday in a special board meeting to set its 2014 preliminary tax levy at $16,633,647, a decrease of $51,057 or a .31 percent decrease compared to 2013.
The board may decrease its levy before a final budget is adopted in December, but it cannot go up.
Steve Lund, director of business services, said there were significant changes in the district’s 2014 levy and revenue because of the education bill signed into law this year.
During the 2013 legislative session, the minimum taxable market value per student to qualify for state funding support was adjusted from $476,000 to $880,000 of taxable market value per student. Brainerd’s current estimated taxable market value per student is about $495,000. With a new minimum established by the state at $880,000, about 25 percent of the school local operating levy will now be funded by the state rather than the local property taxpayers, said Lund.
Lund said with the changes made to the referendum and equity revenue from the education bill, along with the location equity component, the local portion of the total revenue received will be about a 1 percent decrease, while the overall combined revenue from local tax authority and state aid increases by about 24 percent.
The total referendum equity levy and aid revenue for taxes payable in 2013 is about $3.7 million and proposed for 2014 is $4.6 million. Of the $4.6 million, $1.076 million is in voter approved referendum monies.
Of the total school levy, $7.16 million is in the general fund; $578,353 in the community service fund; and $8.89 million in the debt service fund.
The school district’s tax levy has increased since 2006, when it was set at $12.63 million. The district’s tax levy has been in the $15 to $16 million range since 2010. Lund said the big change with the levy was the per pupil unit part of the funding formula which went from $199 per pupil unit to $399 per pupil unit.
In Lund’s levy presentation, the total taxable market value of property in the school district for 2012 was $4.7 billion. In 2005 the total taxable market value was $4.1 billion.
The total taxable market value of property of all school district properties in the state in 2012 was $515.2 billion.
The school board also heard the preliminary audit for fiscal year 2013. The audit showed that the district had $70,429,105 in revenue and $70,611,749 in expenditures, which equals to $182,644 more money spent than revenue that came in. The preliminary budget for fiscal year 2014 is an estimated $69,888,242 in revenue and $70,667,752 in expenditures, which increases the gap of revenue versus expenditures to $779,510.
The audit shows that the district has $10,505,909 in its fund balance at the end of the 2013 fiscal year and $9,726,399 is anticipated to be in the fund balance at the end of the fiscal year 2014.