School Board to consider its 2018 levy on Monday; Public hearing on property taxes to begin at 6 p.m.

The Austin School Board is expected Monday to approve its annual property tax levy, payable in 2018, that will have a 2.04 percent increase over last year.

Public comment may be made during the Truth in Taxation hearing, that will be held at 6 p.m., as part of the board’s regular meeting, which begins at 5:30 p.m. in Austin City Council chambers.

The increase — the maximum allowed by the state — is expected to be $135,566. The total levy would be $6,781,472, up from $6,645,906 a year ago. The figures have not changed since the board approved the preliminary levy in September.

School boards are allowed to lower the levy from the preliminary estimate, but not raise it.

According to Executive Director of Finance and Operations Mark Stotts, the increase has largely to do with the long-term facilities maintenance levy, included in the general levy, which increased this year by $187,827.

However, unlike cities and counties who also set their levies, “you as board members have little control” over the levies whose formulas are set by the Minnesota Legislature.

The local levy is just a small part of the $64 million budget, whose vast majority of funding comes to the district in state aid.

In other business on Monday, the board will consider approval of the 2016-2017 audit report, after a presentation by Kimberley Hillberg of CliftonLarsonAllen.

The Monday meeting will be the last of the 2017 year, with no work session scheduled. The board will meet again at noon on Jan. 3, for its 2018 organizational meeting.

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