The Waterloo School Board unanimously approved its 2019 tax levy, which is payable next year, at its meeting Monday night.
The district is requesting to levy $18,187,522, which is an 8.25 percent increase from last year’s requested levy.
Superintendent Brian Charron emphasized, however, that does not mean the district is raising taxes 8.25 percent.
“What we ask for is not what we get,” Charron explained. “Everybody worries when put in the paper that we’re asking for a certain percentage more this year that we’re raising their taxes by that much, but we are at our maximum tax rates for each of our funds. So we’re really only going to get that tax rate times what the new (equalized assessed value) is.”
That is because the school district’s tax rate, which has been approximately 4.3 for the last three years, is capped by the state and local voters.
Since the district is not raising its tax rate by putting the issue to voters, the only way it will get all the money it is seeking is if the EAV goes up 8.25 percent.
“The only way we’re going to get more money is if there’s more homes, people have added on to their homes or (property) reassessments have gone up,” Charron said.
In the past years, EAV has increased 2.97 to 5.48 percent, though the district has only seen its tax levy increase by 3.62 to 5.06 percent.
Last year, for example, the district sought a 5.55 percent increase in its tax levy, but only received a 3.68 percent increase despite EAV going up 4.29 percent.
Charron said it appears the EAV will go up about 2.5 percent this year, though that number is not certain.
Regardless of how much the school district gets, most of the increase will be on new or reassessed property, so the majority of residents should not see a change in their property tax bill.
“The individual’s tax rate is not going to change,” Charron said. “They should not see an increase due to our operational revenue next year. Our bond and interest payments do go up next year, so they could see a tick there.”
Although it will most likely not get all the funding, Charron said the district still asks for enough to balance its budget because state law requires it and it is prudent.
“We always want to balance our budget,” he said. “We have a healthy surplus of funds, but our operating expenses are often in the negative each year.”
As he did last month when the board set the tentative tax levy, Charron also noted the district’s tax rate is lower than comparable school districts in towns like Columbia and Highland.