Archived Story

Schools decrease property taxes by 4 percent

Published 10:50am Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Austin Public Schools board will decrease school property taxes by about 4 percent next year.

Board members approved the district’s 2014 tax levy at about $6,515,000 during its meeting Monday night. The levy is a decrease from about $6.8 million in property taxes this year.

That means a $125,000 home would likely decrease its school property taxes by $65, from about $520 in 2013 to $455 next year, according to Finance Director Mark Stotts. A commercial property valued at $300,000 would also see a decrease of about $232, or from about $2,090 this year to $1,858 in 2014.


“If [property owners]’ market values stayed constant, they should see a decrease of about 4.1 percent,” Stotts said.

The board voted to levy the maximum amount possible under state funding guidelines in September, which this year was about $6.5 million. The district and other Minnesota schools will face massive changes next year as new funding formulas set by the Minnesota legislature in its 2013 session take effect.

Austin schools are in a good position financially, according to the latest audit by local firm CliftonLarsonAllen. The district kept its $50 million budget steady throughout the 2013 fiscal year. The district’s general fund increased by about $3,000 this year, to stay at about $8.7 million, or about 15 percent of the district’s overall budget.

“The district looks financially healthy,” said Kimberly Hillberg, CliftonLarsonAllen representative.

The district has continued to run a positive budget over the last several years, despite borrowing $7 million in the short term in 2011 to cover expenses due to delayed state aid.

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