School levy highlights tax change in Milroy

By Tara Brandl

Numbers and budgets ruled the evening Monday at the Milroy Public School board meeting.

The board, meeting via Zoom, was presented with a recap of the information presented by Ehlers in December and steps to take next. Jodie Zesbaugh presented the tax levy information highlighting the change in taxes from 2019 to 2020. In 2019, the taxes for a $100,000 home were $1,105 while in 2020, they are $777. Currently, the Milroy School District has an operating referendum that creates higher taxes on residential properties, but farm acreage only pays taxes on their homestead and one acre, while seasonal property is not included in the referendum at all.

Zesbaugh presented an option the board could look at doing with this year’s general election. The school board could vote to move forward with placing two questions on the ballot this fall. The first question would ask voters to approve a capital projects levy of $120,000. The levy would spread the tax burden more evenly throughout all the taxpayers in the district. Many schools use the capital projects levy toward technology. Currently, 51 school districts in the state have a capital projects levy, including Tracy.

“On a referendum market value based levy (which the school currently has), about 36% of it is being paid for by your residential homes,” Zesbaugh said. “On a net tax capacity based levy, they only pay 4% of those levies, so you can see why with a much higher share of your total school levy being a referendum market-based levy, those homeowners are getting a much higher burden because they pay for so much more of it than they do when it’s a net tax capacity-based levy.

“On the qualifying agriculture land, they don’t pay at all toward your operating referendum or referendum market value based levy, only on the house, garage and one acre, which is classified as residential homestead. But on a net tax capacity levy, they pay for 84% of the levy. So your numbers are pretty dramatic on the makeup of your tax base, so that is why you end up with a more dramatic result in terms of school taxes.”

See this week’s Headlight Herald for more on this article.