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Austin residents to vote on $1 million school levy

Published 8:54am Monday, November 4, 2013

Only Austin and Blooming Prairie residents in the area will go to the polls Tuesday to vote.

Austin residents will vote on a $1 million operating levy set to expire at the end of the year. The levy would be in place until the end of 2023 if passed.

Unlike previous years, taxes are guaranteed to decrease regardless of the vote. The Minnesota Legislature voted to change the state’s equalization aid formula this year, which the district uses to help balance the cost of funding its levies, compared to larger, more prosperous communities. The state will cover 60 percent of the levy, as opposed to 49 percent in previous years.

That $100,000 difference translates to savings for the average Austin taxpayer, as the owner of a $125,000 home would likely save about $52 per year in taxes, according to Mark Stotts, the district’s finance director.

If voters decided not to renew the levy, taxes on that same $125,000 would drop by about $113, Stotts said.

A $500,000 commercial property’s taxes would decrease by $207 per year if the referendum passed, and $451 per year if it failed.

There will be fewer polling stations than usual, since 2013 is an off-election year. Voters can cast their ballots at Austin Public Library, Austin High School, Southland Elementary School, Banfield Elementary School, Woodson Kindergarten Center and Ellis Middle School. To find out where to vote this year, visit the Minnesota Secretary of State’s website at or contact Sue Hanson at 507-460-1909.

In addition, Blooming Prairie residents will vote in four members of the Blooming Prairie Community Schools board. Kelly Braaten, Rodney Krell, Pam Hameister and Michel Vigeland are running for election.

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