Redwood Area Board of Education sets preliminary levy

Troy Krause
Redwood Falls Gazette

In early September the Redwood Area School District received a report from the Minnesota Department of Education related to its levy limitation for 2021.

Under state statute, school districts receive direction from the state education department related to the maximum amount of its annual levy, and the district then has until the end of September to set a preliminary levy for the upcoming year.

According to Tom Anderson, Redwood Area School District finance director, the district has the option to certify the proposed levy as a specific dollar amount or in an amount equal to the maximum levy limitation certified by the education department.

Anderson presented the levy proposal to the Redwood Area Board of Education during its Sept. 28 meeting, and at the end of the discussion the board adopted the maximum levy amount, which for 2021 will include a significant overall decrease compared to the actual levy in 2020.

The total proposed 2020 levy payable in 2021 is $2,674,393.48, which is nearly $1 million less than the levy for 2020 of $3,659,885.29. That represents a 26.93 percent decrease in the proposed levy.

The major reason for the decrease is due to a reduction in the debt service category, which is proposed at $691,579.63 – a 59.39 percent decrease over the $1,703,048.24 paid in 2020.

The deduction stems from the paying off of the 2011B refunding bonds, which are related to the capital loan from 1990. 

The capital loan from 1990 was for the Redwood Valley school building, and in essence that loan has now been paid off.

Those who will be seeing a decrease in their levy because of that are those from the old Redwood Falls school district (District 637) as they are the ones who have been paying on it.

Anderson said those in the old Morton (ISD 652) and Belview (ISD 631) districts will likely see a bit of an increase in the school portion of their taxes, but that is dependent on their property value.

The levy amount is based on what is known as the referendum market value for the district, and Anderson said that amount increased to $466,681,000 in 2019.

The referendum market value for 2018 was $451,680,600.

In 2015, the referendum market value was $400,195,900.

The levy will be presented to the public during a Truth in Taxation meeting being held Dec. 21 at 7 p.m.

The school board can then certify the proposed 2020, payable 2021 levy following that scheduled public meeting.