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Board Reduces Planned Property Tax Increase

In an effort to mitigate local property tax increases created by the state Legislature’s elimination of the Homestead Market Credit, the Northfield Board of Education took action at their Dec. 12 meeting to reduce the increase in local property taxes for education in the Northfield Public Schools for the 2012-13 school year. In a time when state tax shifts and changes in law have resulted in an increased burden for local property tax payers throughout the state, the district’s ongoing stewardship of its resources will benefit local taxpayers.

Without the voter approval of an increase in the operating levy, the school district had anticipated a small increase in local property taxes under then current law which included a state paid Homestead Tax Credit. In the special session last July, the state Legislature took action to eliminate the Homestead Tax Credit. This action by the state resulted in a state-wide loss of $261 million in state aid payments that had been used to reduce taxes on homeowners and shifted that tax burden to the local property taxpayers to replace the lost $261 million in state aid. The state’s change has increased local property taxes without providing any additional funding for schools.

“In order to reduce the local tax impact of this state decision, the school district has looked for ways to reduce the burden on our taxpayers. We looked at voter approved and other local levies, over which we had control, to see if there were any levies the district could reduce,” explained Superintendent Dr. Chris Richardson. “We chose to reduce the local levy request by $819,000 for the 2012-13 school year.”

The district was able to implement this change in part due to the recent bond refunding that will reduce future debt service costs. With this November’s voter approved increase in the operating levy, the district had the authority to levy an additional 9.8% in local property taxes. With the voluntary reduction in the request, the total property tax increase is 6%. The district will continue to look for other ways to reduce property taxes in future years while maintaining our focus on providing quality education for Northfield students.

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