TCU approves 5.9% levy increase


The Tri-City United School Board approved its property tax levy after its truth-in-taxation hearing on Monday, Dec. 10 in the high school choir room.  
The levy, the first for the new school district, represents a 5.9 percent increase from last year for district residents in Montgomery, Lonsdale and Le Center. 
Business Manager Robin Pikal compiled the former Montgomery-Lonsdale and Le Center’s financial information and presented it to the board. She stated the combined levy payable in 2012 was $5.33 million. The district is estimating its budget to be $5.64 million for 2013, which represents a $314,772 increase over this year.
Unlike cities and counties, a school district does not set its budget when setting the tax levy. The district approves the final levy in December, and its budget in June.
She stated that school district revenue and taxes are highly regulated by the state, and added that the state sets formulas which determine revenue, tax policies for schools, and the maximum authorized property tax levy. Voters can approve or deny operating and capital requests from schools.
Pikal said the increase comes from asbestos abatement related to construction, fire marshal orders, the formation of the Q Comp program for TCU, which is the addition of Montgomery-Lonsdale to Le Center’s plan, and the repayment of construction bonds. 
The board unanimously approved the proposed tax levy of $5.6 million to be collected in 2013. 
State aid change
Superintendent Matt Helgerson shared with the board a letter from the Minnesota Department of Education that stated Minnesota School Districts will receive an increase in its state aid from 64.3 percent to 82.5 percent because of the improvement in the state’s budget outlook.