Proposed school levy increase nearly ‘neutral’

Published 9:12 am Thursday, September 24, 2009

Taxpayers may be levied a nearly zero percent increase in 2010 from Austin Public Schools that could amount to only “pennies” per home, officials said Wednesday.

The district has proposed a 0.15 percent increase from last year — $8,565 — for the certified levy. The total proposed maximum levy is $5.81 million.

Lori Volz, director of finance and operations, called the increase almost “neutral.”

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“So, this is fantastic news,” she said during a board work session Wednesday. “This is an exceptional year that we are at almost a zero percent increase.”

Volz said the proposed increase is very low because although there are two big projects planned — a multipurpose gym at Ellis Middle School and heating and air conditioning work — and those costs are offset by other levy decreases.

“It’s minute,” Volz said. Even if both the levy operating referendum passes during the November election and the certified levy is approved in December, homeowners will still see only an $84 increase on a $100,000 home.

Volz said she does not anticipate any changes to the proposal, which the board unanimously approved.

The district will not hold a Truth in Taxation hearing this year because the increase is low enough that one is not required.

The levy and budget will be on the agenda for adoption at the school board meeting Monday, Dec. 14. The public will be allowed to speak about the proposal.