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Medford holds school tax rate at $8.33 for third year in a row

Medford holds school tax rate at $8.33 for third year in a row Medford holds school tax rate at $8.33 for third year in a row

Taxpayers in the Medford school district will pay about the same for school taxes next year as they did last year and the year before that.

At Monday’s annual meeting of the Medford Area Public School District, electors approved the school tax levy of $7,918,333 which will result in a tax rate of $8.33 per $1,000 of equalized value. This is the third year in a row the district will keep the tax rate at the same level.

While the district levy grew 3.37% over the prior year, it was matched with a 3.39% growth in the equalized value of the district resulting in the tax rate remaining flat.

Based on the tax rate, owners of a $150,000 home will pay about $1,250 in the school portion of their property taxes this year. The school district taxes are one part of the overall property tax bill with the county, municipality, technical college district and state all having portions of the bill. Because property tax bills are based on assessed value, changes in assessment or a community’s assessment ratio could impact the final tax bill.

The tax rate for Medford school district is well below the state average of $9.34 per $1,000 of equalized value.

According to school finance director Audra Brooks, the local tax levy is just one part of the overall district budget. Electors adopted a budget with a slightly over $32 million in spending projected for the 2020-2021 school year. This is up about $3.2 million from the year before due mainly to the continued growth in the Rural Virtual Academy and the district’s spending is offset by payments from other districts in the consortium which share in the cost of operating the RVA. Medford is able to keep 6% of the RVA funds to cover indirect administrative costs of running the RVA.

Brooks drew the school board’s attention to the debt service portion of the overall school district budget. The district had been projected to pay the existing debt off by 2026. “We will pay that debt off early,” Brooks said, explaining the district has kept the tax rate level in order to be more aggressive in paying off the debt and thereby reducing interest expenses to taxpayers. She also noted that if the school district referendum is approved by voters next week, there will be no impact to the 2020-2021 tax rate with the district able to absorb the additional debt within the existing debt service budget.

Electors voted unanimously to approve the budget and levy as presented.

In other annual meeting business, electors:

_ Approved giving blanket authority to the school board to purchase or sell real estate and to continue leases on facilities in Medford and Mosinee used by the RVA.

_ Approved keeping the salaries of board members the same at $100 per meeting for the board president, $95 per meeting for the board clerk, $75 per meeting for other members and $45 per meeting for any assigned committee meetings.

_ Approved issuing the line of credit up to $7.5 million in short-term borrowing. This is a routine action to ensure the cash flow of the district between receipt of state aid and local tax payments.

_ Set the date for the next annual meeting to occur at 6 p.m. sometime between May 15 and October 21. Typically, the district has met later in the year in order to have the most accurate numbers from the state. Those aid numbers are usually not released until mid October.

off early.”

—School finance director Audra Brooks about plans to pay off the existing debt faster than planned.

“W e will pay that debt