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Flat levy, budget approved at Fox Point-Bayside annual meeting

Levy and tax rate should stay stable in the future, according to financial projections

Sept. 25, 2012

Fox Point - The Fox Point-Bayside School Board, in tandem with six voting residents of the community, approved a flat district tax levy and a slightly increased overall budget for the 2012-13 school year.

The approximately $9.2 million levy is within $30 of the 2011-12 levy, and the approximately $13.3 million overall budget represents an increase of about 0.8 percent.

The amount levied per $1,000 of equalized value (the mill or tax rate) is expected to remain flat as well, at $7.79, though will likely change to some extent when the state Department of Revenue releases its certified district levy and equalized value on Oct. 15.

The district's state-mandated revenue limit has decreased by approximately $662,000 since the 2010-11 school year, necessitating the use of the district fund balance to cover shortfalls. District officials have worked one-year energy savings revenue limit exemptions into the budget in order to exceed the revenue limit by $347,000 in the 2011-12 year. By taking on approximately $450,000 in similar energy conservation projects in 2012-13, the district arrived at its nearly flat budget and flat levy.

"Some of (the budget increase) has to do with the fact that we've increased the amount that we'll be spending on our revenue limit exemption authority (due to energy conservation projects)," Director of Business Services Amy Kohl said. "We have a little bit more that we'll be spending on debt service, but then we also have a little bit less that we're spending in other areas, so it nets out to a one percent over last year."

Tax rate and levy over time

According to historical data and projections presented by Kohl at the annual meeting, Fox Point-Bayside's levy has steadily increased over the course of the last 20 years, peaking in the 2010-11 school year at $9.5 million.

At the same time, the district mill rate decreased over time from its peak of more than $10 in the 1992-93 school year to a recent low in the 2007-08 year of $7. In recent years, that rate has increased to a relative high of $8.16 in 2010-11.

Kohl projects that as the district pays off previous referendum debt over time the levy and mill rate will go down. Her estimates include a levy of approximately $8.2 million and a mill rate of just less than $6 in the 2021-22 school year.

"We're in a good situation now where we're seeing both of them going down or maintaining," Kohl said.

Could be asking for more

However, the board is looking to bring a 10-year $600,000 per year operational referendum before voters next April in an effort to mitigate past and potential reductions to the district's revenue limit and prevent the further use of fund balance to cover shortfalls.

If the referendum passes, that amount added to the levy, combined with levy reductions resulting from debt repayment and a lack of energy savings projects, would mean a flat or slightly reduced tax bill over time in comparison to current levels.

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