School District's proposed tax levy should result in lower tax rate

Posted: Nov. 20, 2012 5:21 pm Updated: Dec. 5, 2012 2:15 am

Herald-Whig Staff Writer

The Quincy School Board on Tuesday adopted a tentative 2012 tax levy that could produce a slightly lower tax rate.

The proposed levy was rolled out at Tuesday morning's Finance Committee meeting and approved without much discussion at Tuesday night's full School Board meeting.

The proposed levy calls for seeking just over $33 million in property taxes. While that's up about $1.3 million from last year's levy, the School District's tax rate is expected to drop to about $4.01 per $100 assessed valuation. The rate was nearly $4.04 this past year.

The district expects to generate more property tax revenue despite the lower rate because the district's total equalized assessed valuation is projected to rise by 4.9 percent to an estimated $825 million, according to Joel Murphy, the district's business manager.

Murphy noted Tuesday night that the EAV projection may be overly optimistic. "We're going to be lucky to get 1 percent this year," he said. If that's the case, the tax rate would still remain in the neighborhood of about $4, Murphy said.

By keeping the proposed tax rate essentially flat, the School Board is keeping true to the promise it made to voters in March when board members pledged that the tax rate would remain unchanged if voters approved a $6.2 million working cash bond issue. Voters subsequently OK'd the issue, thereby allowing the district to use the bond proceeds to wipe out a $2.2 million deficit in the Education Fund and eliminate the need for short-term borrowing for cash-flow purposes.

The board in turn refinanced and restructured some bond payments to incorporate the additional bond debt into the tax levy so there would be no noticeable impact on taxpayers.

The total tax rate for bond payments under the new tax levy is approximately 63.9 cents, down slightly from last year's 64.2-cent bond service rate.

Each individual fund within the district's total tax levy will get more money next year because of the higher EAV. For example, the Education Fund is expected to receive nearly $15.2 million, an increase of 4.9 percent from the $14.47 million extended to that fund last year.

Projected revenue going to most other funds will rise between 4.3 and 4.9 percent — with the exception of the Tort Fund, which is expected to increase just 1.75 percent, and the Social Security Fund, which is expected to drop by about 5.9 percent.