Morris residents likely to pay less in property taxes to MCHS

Published: Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

MORRIS – Because of the decrease in property values, Morris homeowners will likely pay less in property taxes to Morris Community High School.

The Morris high school board approved the tentative tax levy unanimously during its regular meeting Monday, Superintendent Pat Halloran said Thursday.

The proposed tax rate for levy 2013, which is for school year 2014-15, is $1.88 for every $100 of property owned.

“This year’s tax levy represents a 3.6 percent decrease from the 2012 levy,” Halloran said. “This levy is designed to maintain our current tax rate at approximately $1.88.”

School districts file tax levies to make sure they capture all available property tax dollars once the actual equalized assessed value (EAV), or property value, is determined. School district budgets are primarily based on local property taxes.

The district is levying based on the 2013 estimated EAV of $404,523,883, which is the actual total EAV from 2012, according to the levy worksheet given to the school board. These numbers still are an estimate until the levy is actually approved in December.

“I still anticipate a 5 percent decline once again on the heels of a 7 percent decline last year,” Halloran said. “This continues to present revenue challenges for the district.”

As a result of these financial challenges, Halloran said the district anticipates reductions in personnel, supplies and equipment along with implementing cost containment strategies.

Last fiscal year, the high school was actually extended $7,606,020. It’s estimated to receive about $7,558,076 through this proposed levy.

The school district will not increase its tax rate despite the fact property values are decreasing and resulting in less property taxes for the district. Because property values are decreasing, homeowners will receive lower property taxes, including lower taxes to Morris High School since it is not raising its rate.

In other business, the board also approved issuing $1.45 million in working cash bonds. The district issues working cash bonds as its funding mechanism for district operations. 

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