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Linn-Mar BOE approves certified budget
by Nancy Grindle Correspondent · April 13th, 2017

One of the major topics at the Linn-Mar Board of Education regular meeting, held Monday, April 10, 2017, was approval of the proposed FY18 certified budget for the school district.

JT Anderson, Chief Financial Officer, presented information about the budget and a hearing (at which no one spoke) was held. The purpose of the certified budget is to establish a maximum tax rate and an estimate of budget year expenditures for all funds.

The proposed tax rate change between fiscal year 2017 and 2018 is down slightly, from a tax levy of $17.3772 to $17.3734.

The general fund budget is driven by two primary factors: supplemental state aid (allowable growth), which is set by the State Legislature, and certified enrollment. For certified enrollment, a count is taken in October of each year. The count taken in October 2016 is used for the FY2018 budget.

Anderson showed a chart reflecting district cost per pupil from 2010 through 2017. In 2010 the cost per pupil was $5769, and it has risen to $6592 in 2017 and $6665 in 2018.

The budget which was approved by the board contains the following recommendations and comments:

• General Fund - Increase by $0.24. This is due to historical lows in supplemental state aid growth, and increasing operating costs of the district, as well as inflation. The district has had to dip into cash reserves to offset the deficit general fund balance. The result will increase amounts in the regular cash reserve levy by approximately $500,000.

• Management Fund - No significant change

• PPEL Fund - Continue to use the $.33 board-approved levy plus the $1.34 voter-approved levy. There will be no change from last year.

• PERL Fund - Continue to use the $.1235 voter-approved levy. There will be no change from the previous year.

• Debt Service Fund - Decrease by $0.24. This is due primarily to bond refinancing and an overall increase in taxable valuations. This levy is expected to generate $3.5 million. Its expenditures are the general obligation bond debt principal and interest costs.

• Debt Outstanding - As of June 30, 2017 there will be these debts: $27,305,000 GO bonds (voter approved), $53.31 million revenue bonds (sales tax, board approved) and $8,985,000 PPEL notes outstanding. The total debt outstanding is $89,600,000, approximately 56 percent of the maximum limit of $159 million.

• Total Estimated Property Tax Levy -- $34,608,372 at a rate of $17.365. Anderson noted that control of this tax levy comes mostly from the state (just under 55 percent). The Board controls only a little over a fourth, and voters control just under 19 percent.

The annual tax impact on property owners is expected to result in an increase of $50 if a person owns a home valued at $200,000 and this is due to a 2.4 percent increase in state residential rollback. For commercial property owners, no change is expected. Those who own multi-residential property with an assessed valuation of $400,000 will see a decline of $260, due to a 3.75 percent decrease in state rollback.

After board's approval on Monday evening, the next step is filing the budget with the County Auditor and Iowa Department of Management by Friday, April 15, 2017.
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