WATERLOO — Property owners are expected to pay less in Waterloo Community Schools’ taxes under a $185.07 million 2018-19 budget.
The budget, which goes into effect July 1, includes a 3.2 percent decrease in overall tax collections. The Board of Education approved it earlier this week.
Michael Coughlin, chief financial officer, said the tax rate is dropping 41 cents to $14.57 per $1,000 of taxable value. That is “largely property tax relief through the state formula,” he noted. The formula is used by school districts to determine much of their property tax funding.
In addition, “we have a lower rollback number than we did last year,” Coughlin said, dropping by about 1.3 percent. The rollback is a state-determined percent of assessed value taxes are calculated on, which for residential property is just over half.
For the owner of a $100,000 home, taxes would drop $43 to $810 on the district’s portion of the bill. Taxes on commercial property of the same value would drop while taxes on similar agricultural land would see an increase. Commercial property owners would pay $1,311, or $37 less than now, and agricultural land owners would pay $793, $81 more.
“This is the first year in many years that we are levying less money, as well,” said Coughlin, referencing the 3.2 percent decrease in tax askings. Total tax collections will drop from $40.98 million this year to $39.67 million for the new fiscal year, a decrease of $1.31 million.
In addition to property taxes, other local revenues total $4.96 million in the budget. That includes tuition and transportation funds, earnings on investments, nutrition program sales, student activities and sales, and other local revenues.
The budget also includes $84.14 million in supplemental state aid, $1.38 million in commercial and industrial state tax replacement and $12.05 million in other state sources — much of which is state sales tax proceeds. Federal funds from all sources total $17.93 million.
Expenditures are growing in the $185.07 million budget.
“That is about $20 million higher than last year,” said Coughlin. “Ten (million dollars) of that is instruction and part of that increase is the settlement for teachers approved tonight.”
Earlier in the meeting, the board approved a 4.98 percent increase in base salary for teachers and other staff represented by the Waterloo Education Association as part of its 2018-19 contract.
Coughlin said the district took advantage of an unspent balance that has been increasing during recent years to help boost those salaries. That is helping to bring the unspent balance down as a percentage of total budget authority from 12.8 percent closer to the 10 percent target.
Instruction totals $90.48 million in the budget. Total support services are $53.91 million. That includes student and instructional staff support; general, school, business and central administration; plant operation and maintenance; and student transportation.
Non-instructional programs total $7.65 million in budget. Others expenditures for facilities acquisition and construction, debt service, and area education agency support total $33.02 million.