School Board Sets Max Levy - Lacks Tax Information

By KBJR News 1

October 7, 2010 Updated Oct 7, 2010 at 8:02 PM CDT

DULUTH, MN. --- The Duluth School Board has set its maximum potential tax levy for 2012 despite not knowing the effects on local taxpayers.

The board voted 5 to 2 on Wednesday, agreeing to set a maximum $26 million dollar tax levy for residents in the Duluth School District. The number represents a potential 5.9 percent increase in taxes compared to 2010. The actual amount won't be certified until late December and could be less.

However, the school board can't say at this point, is what that means in potential new taxes for homeowners.

Last night's meeting found the majority of school board members in support of setting the maximum levy despite not knowing the potential tax impact.
However, at least one member was disappointed at what he called a "rushed decision."

"The concern that I've got here is that there's a lot of distrust already toward the school board in this town," said board member Art Johnston, voicing his frustration.

"And here we are being asked to vote on something again we don't even have the numbers on. The newspapers don't have the numbers. Nobody has the numbers as far as I know."

At Wednesday's meeting, Duluth School District Business Manager Bill Hanson expressed his frustration regarding what he described as an inability to access figures representing those potential taxes.

"I wish I had them for you," Hanson said, adding that he had placed a call to the St. Louis County Auditor's Office to secure the data on Tuesday, but that it had been ultimately unsuccessful.

When asked why the school board couldn't have access to the information, representatives from the St. Louis County Auditor's office said current tax information representing the year 2011's "tax potential" in the Duluth School District just weren't available, but likely would be in a few weeks.

Last year's levy was more than $24 million divided up among local taxpayers.
With each student in the district receiving a little over $350 in tax dollars from the local community.

For a homes in the district valued at $100,000, the numbers have an impact of about $79 per year or $6.61 per month.

The Duluth School Board will set its permanent levy on December 21 after a number of budget meetings have taken place.
The decision will put in place a new tax rate at this time.

Written for the web by Matt Standal