Our property tax bills arrived in the mail this week and the annual event brings up thoughtful questions from our residents. One timely question has been: “Why are our property taxes going up?” We are writing to share context and promote understanding.
The short answer to the above question is: Property taxes are going up because community property values are going up. That said, increased property values also reflect a thriving community. Please consider the following background information:
The HSSD levy rate for 2019 was approved by the Board at $9.19 per $1,000 of assessed property value for the fourth straight year (after decreasing four consecutive years from $9.75 beginning in 2012). The levy rate is the only variable of our property tax calculation under direct control of the Board of Education; however, it is not shown on our tax bills. The HSSD portion of our property tax bill is calculated by taking the total estimated fair market value of our property, multiplied by the levy rate and subtracting the school levy tax credit. (See this document for more information on how to interpret your tax bill.)
During referendum planning, the volunteer Community Task Force advised the HSSD Board of Education to develop a referendum with a minimal impact on the HSSD levy rate. In consideration of this recommendation, and weighing community survey input, the Board approved a plan that maintained a stable levy, with zero increase to the HSSD tax rate. We honored that commitment when we officially set the tax levy in October and maintained the tax rate at $9.19 for the fourth year in a row. In fact, the Board had the legal ability to levy for $1.3 million more – but chose not to in order to uphold its pledge to the community.
In summary, the increase in net tax shown on our property tax bill is a result of the increase in property values. The April 2018 referendum did not change the HSSD levy rate – and the Board of Education honored its promise. Again, this is the only aspect of our property tax calculation under our direct authority.
Our Board takes seriously its role providing great value to our taxpayers and excellent educational opportunities for our children. For these reasons, we appreciate community inquiries on any aspect of Board policy.
HSSD Board of Education
Teresa Ford, President – email@example.com
Mark Ashley, Vice President – firstname.lastname@example.org
Rachelle Paulsen, Clerk – email@example.com
Garry Sievert, Treasurer/Deputy Clerk – firstname.lastname@example.org
Jeff Eilers, Director – email@example.com
Maria Lara, Director – firstname.lastname@example.org
Vanessa Moran, Director – email@example.com