Osseo Area School Board approves preliminary levy at highest legal rate

The Osseo Area School Board approved its preliminary levy at the highest legal rate at its Sept. 19 meeting.
The preliminary levy was approved in a 5-0 vote with one member absent.
Total preliminary levies for fiscal year 2018 totals $92.7 million, a $2.7 million increase over the final 2017 levy. This represents a 3.07 percent increase.
Final levy rates are set in December. Final levies cannot be set any higher than the approved preliminary levy.
The district has seen an increase in its unlimited adjusted net tax capacity for fiscal year 2018. While the district’s tax capacity in fiscal year 2017 was $165.8 million, tax capacity for fiscal year 2018 is $176.8 million. This is a 6.64 percent increase.
“This is favorable news for our community taxpayers in that the levy will be spread over a larger property value, which reduces the impact of levy increases,” said Patricia Magnuson, executive director of finance and operations. “We are predicting that the increase in the total dollar levy of 3.07 percent – which is the numerator of the tax rate formula – will be complimented by an increasing tax [base] … which is the denominator of that tax rate formula, resulting in a reduction in the school tax rate,” she said.
Tax capacity and market value can impact the levy by changing equalization formulas, according to Magnuson.
The long-term facilities maintenance levy is decreasing in 2018 by $988,345 because the district issued bonds for this funding. As a result, the debt service levy will increase to offset bonding costs, Magnuson said.
In total, the debt service levy was increased by $1.4 million, or 8.2 percent.
“As we’ve said in the work sessions, we are looking to vote on this at maximum, but that is to give us the flexibility that if there is anything unforeseen that comes up that requires additional funding it’s there. But, the goal is to have it less than this when we do the full budget and when it comes up for analysis,” said Boardmember Mike Ostaffe.

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