School District 13 tax levy to be reduced
School Board is cognizant of taxpayer dollars
The Columbia Heights School District’s payable 2013 tax levy is expected to decrease.
This past September, the School Board unanimously approved the preliminary certification of the levy, which was an increase of 3.63 percent over last year’s levy.
During the Nov. 27 board meeting, Director of Finance and Operations Bill Holmgren said at that point, the yearly payment for the Highland Elementary addition was included.
“We talked about trying to find a way to put the addition on the building without any tax ramifications to our community. We said we’d look at that on a yearly basis and see if we can afford to do that without hurting our financial position as we go forward,” Holmgren said.
The one-story addition on the south side of Highland Elementary will include five kindergarten classrooms and one early childhood classroom. The addition is being funding with a 15-year lease levy. Construction is scheduled to reach completion on Dec. 14, and students will begin moving into the new classrooms on Dec. 17.
For the first year, the amount is $131,778. The district will make a yearly decision whether it needs to levy the dollars, but it should be able to make payments using enrollment dollars from the general fund.
“After we underlevy that $131,000, it does drop that increase down to 2.15, which is a one-and-a-half percent decrease in our levy,” Holmgren told the board.
He added that the district faces no type of penalty for underlevying the lease payment.
School Board member Joe Sturdevant said he is “comfortable” with the decision, and School Board member Ted Landwehr agreed, stating the district has a healthy fund balance.
“The economy is still tough, so the more we can help the taxpayers of the community, the better,” Landwehr said.
“It seems reasonable to me. If you say we can afford it, I believe you,” said School Board member Scott Bardell.
In December, Holmgren will bring forward the property tax levy for the School Board to certify, which will not include the lease payment.