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The Lake News Online
  • MCR2 decides on April vote to decide levy issue

  • The Morgan County R-II Board of Education has placed a levy issue on the April 8 ballot. The proposed 15-cent increase would help finance a storm shelter building/performing arts center as well as relieve a tight operating budget.
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      Residential property is assessed at 19 percent of market value. (Commercial property is assessed at 33 1/3 percent of market value, and agricultural property is assessed at 12 percent.)...
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      Cost to homeowners
      Residential property is assessed at 19 percent of market value. (Commercial property is assessed at 33 1/3 percent of market value, and agricultural property is assessed at 12 percent.) The property is then taxed at a rate per $100 of assessed valuation. The proposed increase from $2.75 to $2.90 for residential properties is enumerated below.

      $50,000 Market Value

      Current Rate: $261.25

      Proposed Rate: $275.50

      Increase = $14.25 per year

      $100,000 Market Value

      Current Rate: $522.50

      Proposed Rate: $551

      Increase = $28.50 per year

      $300,000 Market Value

      Current Rate: $1,567.50

      Proposed Rate: $1,653

      Increase = $85.50 per year

      $500,000 Market Value

      Current Rate: $2,612.50

      Proposed Rate: $2,755

      Increase: $142.50 per year
       
  • The Morgan County R-II Board of Education has placed a levy issue on the April 8 ballot. The proposed 15-cent increase would help finance a storm shelter building/performing arts center as well as relieve a tight operating budget.
    The measure would raise real estate and personal property taxes from a rate of $2.75 per $100 of assessed valuation to $2.90 per $100.
    The school board and administration are looking to roll a grant for close to $2 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for a storm shelter at the main campus into meeting further needs of the district.
    Rather than have an approximately 15,000 square foot storm shelter building that sits empty most of the time, the board has proposed outfitting the structure as a performing arts center which will bump up the cost to $4.5 million total, leaving the district to cover about $2.5 million of the construction. In comparison, the district's matching funds for the grant to build a storm shelter only would be around $605,500.
    Either way, the above-ground structure would be built to withstand an EF5 tornado.
    If the funding is approved, the district also plans on rolling its outstanding debt from the construction of the high school commons into the lease purchase for the storm shelter to lower the interest rate.
    The levy issue would also increase the operating budget, and unlike a bond issue, does not sunset.
    Local revenues have stagnated as the local and national economy has struggled during and post-recession while state funding has been steadily cut back over the same time period.
    Assessed valuation in the district has remained relatively steady over the last seven years, averaging about $243 million, which has correlated to a steady local tax revenue of approximately $8.15 million from 2007-08 to 2013-14.
    The district's state revenue took a hit between the 2008-09 and 2009-10 school years, dropping by approximately $400,000. From $2,296,750 in 2009-10, it then decreased incrementally to $2,115,086 in 2012-13 and was steady into 2013-14.
    While revenue has gone down, expenses have been going up from fuel and buses to insurance and technology.
    To offset the deficit between declining revenues and rising costs, the district has cut more than 22 full time equivalent positions - from teachers and administrators to assistants and paraprofessionals - mainly through natural attrition.
    A simple majority is required to pass the levy issue.
     
     

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