Dec. 18 , 2006

Taxes for HLWW new high school will not be as high

By Jennifer Gallus
Staff Writer

Those in the Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted School District will pay lower than expected property taxes for the voter approved referendum.

That is, according to discussion at the truth in taxation hearing. A truth in taxation hearing was held for the HLWW School District last week.

“On the bond referendum, if you look at a $100,000 property, the actual amount of property tax that will be paid is $9.62 less than we predicted on the voting ballot,” said George Ladd, school superintendent.

“On a $300,000 property, the amount is $50.09 less than we told voters when they approved the levy,” he said.

As with other local government entities, a meeting for the truth in taxation process is required if the tax increase will be greater than the statewide inflation adjustment.

“The proposed levy payable in 2007 has been given to the state. The general fund is at a 1 percent increase. The board has done exactly what you said you’d like them to do by keeping that down,” Ladd said.

“You’ll notice that the biggest decrease is the health and safety dollars at 27 percent less. We promised the public we would do that and that happened,” he continued.

Ladd reported that the community service fund is down 8 percent.

“The debt service fund, of course, is going to be up because of the voter approved referendum. Anything would have been a 100 percent increase because we were at zero for more than 20 years,” Ladd explained.

Property tax relief tips

Ladd explained that there are two different property tax relief measures people can take to lessen their burden. One is income based and one is not.

1) The Minnesota Property Tax Refund, commonly referred to as the “circuit breaker” refund.

• available to owners of homestead property if the annual income is $87,780 or less.

• a sliding scale based upon property tax is used.

• maximum refund is $1,640.

• taxpayer must fill out M-1PR by Aug. 15 to apply for a refund.

“Some of our taxpayers will definitely be in that category,” Ladd said.

2) Targeted Homeowners Property Tax Refund (not income sensitive).

• available to homestead properties with a gross tax increase of at least 12 percent, if the increase is $100 more than the prior year.

• refund is 60 percent of the amount by which the tax increase exceeds the greater of 12 percent or $100, up to a maximum of $1,000.

• no income limitation.

• taxpayer must complete state tax form M-1PR by August 15 to apply for a refund.

“I know a senior citizen who uses one of these, and by the time he gets his second property tax bill, he’s already gotten his refund and he uses that to pay for the second bill,” Ladd explained.

Work session

A school board work session was held after the hearing, and consisted of three candidate interviews for a school board member.

Those interviewed were Paul Weibel of Winsted, Fred Yerke of Waverly, and Karen Salo of Winsted.

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