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Waterloo school board proposes small drop in tax collections

Waterloo school board proposes small drop in tax collections


WATERLOO — Property tax collections will decline slightly for Waterloo Community Schools in the 2020-21 budget as officials hold the line on the tax rate.

The Board of Education Monday set a public hearing on the $201.14 million budget for the fiscal year starting July 1, including the 0.58% drop in tax collections. The public hearing has been set for 5 p.m. April 13.

Under the proposal, the district would collect $40.12 million in taxes, $234,080 less than in the current year.

Along with the district holding the tax rate at $14.21 per $1,000 of assessed value, the state’s reduction in the “rollback” for residential and multi-residential property owners is impacting the overall amount. The rollback is the percentage of a property’s value used to calculate the tax bill.

Michael Coughlin, chief financial officer, noted that “62% of our property valuation is residential property,” so a decrease for homeowners has the biggest affect on district tax rolls. A higher percentage of agricultural property value will be taxed and the rollback will be unchanged for commercial/industrial property.

Owners of $100,000 homes would pay $782 on the district’s portion of their tax bills, a drop of $26 from the current year. The district tax bill for $100,000 of agricultural property would be $1,157, a $360 increase. Owners of commercial and industrial facilities or land would continue to pay $1,278 on $100,000 of property value.

Coughlin noted that the board has reduced its tax rate annually over the past five years and kept the overall tax collections in the range of $39 million to $41 million. Board members on the district’s finance committee said they recommended no increase in the tax rate for the coming year to maintain a similar amount of tax collections.

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That was particularly important “in the time we’re in now,” said board member Sue Flynn, where some residents are facing financial hardships related to restrictions around coronavirus health concerns.

“We are being fiscally responsible, and that’s something I’m very proud of,” she said.

Board member Lyle Schmitt agreed that “it wasn’t appropriate to raise taxes” at this particular time. “I just feel good about the balance we struck,” he said.

Photos: Morning at Sweet Marsh


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Staff Writer

After 18-plus years reporting on local education, I’ve graduated to covering the city of Cedar Falls. Family and church commitments keep me busy outside of work along with lots of biking, rowing and skiing – pretty good for a guy with fake hips.

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