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Current HLWW operating levy expires soon

October 15, 2007

Taxpayers will be asked to renew current levy in fall referendum

By Jennifer Gallus
Staff Writer

An operating levy referendum is fast approaching, and Tuesday, Nov. 6 residents of the Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted School District will be asked to vote on two questions.

Those questions will be:

• renew the existing general education revenue of $130 per pupil unit for 10 years.

• increase the general education revenue by $64 per pupil unit for 10 years.

Renewing the existing general education revenue (Question 1) will finance school operations such as curriculum, supplies, staff positions, and repairs. This amount was determined by replacement of the current operating levy revenue that expires soon, according to the school district.

Increasing the general education revenue (Question 2) is necessary to achieve the district’s goal of reserving a two-month cash flow in the general fund as recommended by the district’s auditor, according to the school district.

Additionally, those reserve funds will go towards technology, curriculum, and building and grounds maintenance.

Question two can only pass if question one passes.

An operating levy should not be confused with a bond referendum. An operating levy is a locally approved levy (tax) that district residents authorize to help support student learning and the ongoing costs of operating their own school district.

A bond referendum supports buildings, which is what the last vote was on, and are kept separate from operating levy monies.

Operating levy amounts are based on the taxable market value of property listed on property tax statements. For operating levies, residential homesteads, apartments, and commercial-industrial properties are taxed at the same rate.

Agricultural property will be taxed for the proposed referendum based only on the value of the house, garage, and one acre.

The net change in tax impact for the owner of a $100,000 home is $4 per year if both questions pass.

Many owners of homestead property could qualify for a refund, based on their income and total property taxes. This will decrease the net tax impact of the proposed questions for many taxpayers.

If approved, the new taxes would be paid by district residents in 2008, according to the school district.

For more information, call the superintendent’s office at (320) 543-3521, visit the district’s web site at www.hlwwk12.mn.us, or contact a school board member.