School board reviews tax date at hearing

Chuck Kajer, Managing Editor

New Prague Area Schools’ proposed tax levy was the topic of discussion at the annual Truth in Taxation hearing. The hearing took place before the regular school board meeting on Thursday, Dec. 8.

The school’s finance director, Rod Zivkovich, gave a presentation on the levy, including a lesson in terminology and some history to put this year’s numbers in perspective.

The first set of numbers he went over was the property valuation data. That is, the estimated assessed value of all property in the district. That number is $1.40 billion, an increase of 19.4 percent from last year. The resulting Net Tax Capacity was $14 million, an increase of 19.7 percent from a year earlier.

The proposed 2006 levy is $7.23 million, an increase of $1.3 million over the 2005 levy. About half of the increase is due to debt service on voter-approved bonding projects.

Other big increases were $197,684 for operating capital, an increase of 147 percent, and $186,724 for an equity levy, an increase of 132.3 percent. These increases are due to changes in state aid made by the legislature for 2006. The voter approved (operating) levy also went up by $181,350, or 19.3 percent, as a result of increased enrollment and a shift in state aid.

Zivkovich also presented several graphs showing property tax comparisons for 2005 and 2006. A home valued at $200,000 would have paid $856 in school taxes in 2005. In 2006, with the newly approved bond referendum, the home would pay $905, an increase of 5.8 percent.

Agricultural homestead property would see a slight increase. Property valued at $500,000 paid $1,172 in 2005. In 2006, the tax burden would be $1,228, an increase of 4.8 percent.

Finally, Zivkovich presented a comparison for the past six years, dating to 2001, the last year before changes in taxes took a large amount of education spending out of property taxes.

In 2001, a home valued at $170,146 paid $1,247 in property taxes for schools. Based on an 8 percent annual increase in property values, that home saw a drop to $482 in 2002. The same house, now valued at $250,000, would pay $1,093 under the proposed school levy for 2006, which is still less than 2001.

The board asked for comments from the audience, but no one had any questions. The board is expected to set the levy for 2006 at its December 15 meeting.

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