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Bond Issue and School District Tax Levy

by Bill Heimann, Superintendent

September 04, 2014

At the August 4, 2014 meeting, the District 145 School Board passed a resolution calling for a bond issue on the November 4 General Election. This action occurred after approximately two years worth of conversations, planning, meetings, and discussion by board members regarding the future needs of our district. The purpose of the bond issue is to approve funding for district improvements in the areas of technology, safety and security, and facilities. The total bond issue to cover these projects will be $15,580,000. The Board of Education is seeking permission from patrons to receive the financial support necessary to complete the projects that community stakeholder groups have recommended for the district to complete.

We are fortunate to be living in a growing and thriving area. Nebraska school districts are limited in their ability to generate revenue, as the Nebraska Legislative has placed a "lid" on expenditures and revenue. Districts are limited to $1.05 property tax levy. The General Fund budget provides the ability to operate the district, but does not give us the ability to "save" enough money to undertake significant capital improvements. When local property values increase, state equalization financial support declines, thus requiring local school districts to be heavily reliant on property taxes to support the needs of schools. The Board of Education members voted unanimously to use the only mechanism available to address district needs. A bond election is an opportunity for the patrons of the district to be directly involved in the governance of the school district, and it allows voters to determine whether or not investing in the future of the school district should occur.

Each property owner is impacted differently with property tax levies. The 2013 total tax levy in our district was $1.2166. The tax levy for 2014 will decrease due to an an increase of property valuations. In 2005, when voters approved a bond issue to build Waverly Middle School and complete an addition to Waverly High School, the total tax levy increased to $1.315. Since that time, the total tax levy has continued to decrease (see graph) due to property valuation increases, and the refinancing of bonds to take advantage of lower interest rates.

If the school bond issue passes in 2014, the total tax levy will decrease because there is an increase in overall district property valuation. School districts must set their tax levy in October, which is prior to November election. In 2015, the total levy is estimated to increase $0.015 and in 2016, it is estimated the levy would increase an additional $0.035. In 2017, it is projected the levy would stay at the same level as 2016, or decrease if district property values increase.

Year    Taxable Value      Levy Change                  Yearly                    Monthly

2014    $100,000         -1.46 cents / $100             -$14.60                  -  $1.21

2015    $100,000         + 1.5 cents / $100             + $15                     + $1.25

2016    $100,000         + 3.5 cents / $100             + $35                     + $2.92

As the chart displays, an owner of $100,000 worth of property paid $1,216.60 in school taxes annually in 2013. If the bond issue passes, that same owner would pay $1,202 in 2014, or $14.60 less than 2013. If the bond issue passes, in 2015 this same property owner would pay $1,217.00 in school taxes (40 cents more than 2013). In 2016, if the bond issue passes, this same property owner would pay $1,252 in school taxes, or an annual increase of $35.40 from 2013.

Year Total Tax Levy
2013         $1.2166
2014 $1.202  (contingent upon Board approval on October 6, 2014)
2015 $1.217 (estimated if bond issue passes)
2016     $1.252 (estimated if bond issue passes)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Details regarding the identified projects are available on our website. We want our patrons to be educated regarding our school district, allowing voters to make an informed decision at the polls on November 4. I would be happy to speak with anyone concerning individual and/or general questions they may have concerning the bond issue.

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