$1 million Austin schools levy passesPublished 9:38pm Tuesday, November 5, 2013
A little more than 80 percent of voters supported a $1 million operating levy for Austin Public Schools.
There were 2,990 residents who came to the polls Tuesday, with 2,401 in favor of the levy and 589 against.
“It’s been a very positive feeling,” said Austin Public Schools Board Chairman Greg Larson. “It should have passed, and it did.”
The levy, which goes toward wages, benefits, utilities payments and other items out of the district’s general fund, won’t be up for renewal until 2023.
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.
A $500,000 commercial property’s taxes will likely decrease by $207 per year.
Superintendent David Krenz thanked residents for supporting the levy.
“I believe that public schools belong to the community,” Krenz said. “They truly are community schools.”