Re-2 says mill levy won’t raise current property tax levels |

Re-2 says mill levy won’t raise current property tax levels

Editor’s Note: Some of the information in this article corrects some statistical and factual errors from a story published on Aug. 31.This November, voters within Garfield School District Re-2 will have to go to local polling places to vote whether to approve a bond and mill levy override for the district.Question: Yes or no – Is there going to be a tax increase, however small? Answer: The proposed Garfield Re-2 bond and mill levy program is anticipated not to raise property tax rates above current levels.TABOR laws require certain phrasing, including “tax increase” to be used on the November ballot. However, school board members have worked long and hard on the proposal since October 2005 to determine the proper amount of funds allowable without increasing taxes within the district.”That is the main point of the bond issue that we are trying to get across,” said Theresa Hamilton, director of districtwide services for Re-2. “We are just asking voters to maintain the current level of property taxes.”School board members are requesting the voters to approve a $74.9 million bond for new construction and major renovations to schools within the district. Also, a $1.6 million mill levy override to “help offset” reoccurring costs such as salaries and increasing utility costs within the county.So, how can the school board ask for that amount of funds and not expect taxes to increase? It’s a very complicated formula that has to do with the assessed valuation of property within Garfield County.According to Hamilton, “Over the past five years, the assessed valuation in the Re-2 school district has increased dramatically. This is due in large part to the increased natural gas activity. As the assessed valuation increases, the tax rate decreases.”Basically, the demand for housing in the area has made the value of property increase. Gas companies in the area pay a larger part of the taxes, so the individual property owners pay less.The school district maintains that leaving the current tax rate where it is will provide the school district the extra funds needed for the current mill levy proposal. These funds are a portion of the general operating budget for the school district. The general operating budget for the 2005-06 school year for Re-2 was $29.2 million, not $8.3 million, as was reported in Thursday’s Post Independent. The $8.3 million was the portion of the revenues in the general operating budget received from property taxes. The school board hopes to raise that amount by $1.6 million. These funds will not be used to pay back past bonds. Bonds are repaid through property tax revenues over a 20- to 25-year period.For more detailed information on the November bond and mill levy issues contact the Garfield School District Re-2 at, (970) 625-7600, or visit the Web site, John Gardner: 945-8515, ext.

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