Fridley School District’s levy decreases
Instead of prior projected increases, levy will decrease 0.1 percent from 2012 to 2013
Increased savings achieved by refunding school district bonds helped decrease the amount the Fridley School District will levy in 2013.
The Fridley School Board held its annual Truth in Taxation hearing at its Dec. 18 meeting; no residents attended to hear about or discuss the levy. The board unanimously approved the final levy, which will decrease 0.1 percent from 2012. This marks the third consecutive year of decreasing levies.
A home valued at about $150,000 for 2013 taxes would see taxes decrease about $1 from 2012 to 2013, according to district documents, but tax impacts will vary by property type and value, as well as by value changes relative to other properties.
Originally, the preliminary tax levy approved in September was set to increase 1.69 percent over 2012’s levy.
Finance Director Rochel Manders told the Board, before that approval at that meeting, there was a good chance the levy increase could ultimately be less than half a percent when approved as a final levy in December due to savings found in refunding the district’s bonds, or debts.
For the school district, “refunding” bonds is comparable to a homeowner refinancing a mortgage to have a lower interest rate and save money overall.
At the meeting in September, Manders anticipated savings of $110,000 per year from the refunding process. New estimates in October showed possible savings of $139,500 per year.
At the Dec. 18 meeting, Manders said savings were actually $153,821 per year, so the levy’s projected total dropped further to yield a 0.1 percent decrease in funds collected through property taxes.
The general fund’s revenue represents 80.6 percent of the district’s entire revenue. Of the dollars going into the general fund, about 81 percent comes from the state government, 4 percent from the federal government, and 13.8 percent is levied in taxes.
Some things that affect the levy include the resident pupil count, the number of projects in the schedule, and the number of residents in the district, which can all vary each year. The state determines formulas that determine revenue, which is mostly driven by pupil counts, Manders said.
Manders also noted that the school was not able to levy enough funds in past years, and increases in state funding for schools have not kept up with inflation and district expenses. As such, without improved state funding support or a voter-approved referendum, Manders said, the district can expect to see budget cuts in its fiscal years 2014 and 2015.
For more details on the school district’s funding, visit its finance page at tinyurl.com/czs5lc3.