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Loyal school tax rate will stay the same as last year’s

The Loyal School District’s property tax rate could have dropped a bit for the coming year, but the district Board of Education decided instead to replenish a fund that pays for summer recreation and other community programs. As a result, the tax rate will stay exactly where it was at for another year.

The Board met in special session on Oct. 29 to finalize its 2019-20 budget and property tax levy. After all the necessary financial information became available in recent weeks, the district determined it could offer property owners a modest rate decrease for the coming year. However, the fund that provides money for the popular summer recreation program, golf course maintenance, etc., was almost dry and an influx of funds was needed there to maintain the programs.

The Board, with support from interim district administrator Mark Lacke, decided to levy an additional $48,000 in the coming year to build the community fund back up. That sum will last several years, as the district spends about $9,000-$10,000 per year out of the fund. As Lacke said at the annual district meeting in September, this is a good year to replenish the fund because taxes were due to decrease.

Lacke said last week that the $3,400 that was left in the community fund would not have been enough to run programs even one more year.

Board member Jen Kadolph said she supports the extra tax levy for the community fund. “Our summer rec programs are very heavily used,” she said. “It keeps our kids involved over the summer months. They really look forward to it. I feel it’s very important.”

While Loyal receives approximately 70 cents back in state aid for every $1 it spends to operate the school, the community fund is under different rules. It gets no state aid on those expenses.

“It is the only one that’s not stateaided,” Lacke said. “It’s 100 percent Loyal funds.”

With the Board’s action last week, the coming year’s mil rate will again be $9.18 per $1,000 of property value. That translates to a $918 school tax bill for the owner of a $100,000 home.

In other business on Oct. 29, the Board approved the appointment of Harlan Hinkelmann as a new Board member, representing the area of the district north of Highway 98. He replaces Jeff Acker, who recently resigned. Hinkelmann was the lone district resident to apply to replace Acker, and he will fill out the remainder of Acker’s 3-year term.