The Thayer R-II School Board voted Aug. 13 to set the district's tax levy at the same rate as last year. The levy was set at $2.75 for operating and $0.92 for debt service per $100 of assessed valuation.
Superintendent Rod Priest pointed out to the board that the district's assessed valuation was down $880,293 from the prior year and keeping the levy at last year's levels will decrease district revenues.
Board members said they are aware of the impact the economy has on the taxpayer and took this into consideration when setting the levy.
Using the State Auditor's calculations, the computation of the debt service tax rate came to $1,1854 using the lower assessed valuation.
Board Vice President Bill Franz said, "If at all possible, I would like to keep our debt service levy at the current rate and keep the tax burden in these difficult times as low as possible."
According to the board, taking a voluntary reduction of $0.2654 will keep the debt service at the current level and based on a 100 percent collection rate the district will be short about $26,000 in revenues to cover the bond payments.
Priest shared with the board that it is important that the Debt Service Fund has sufficient reserves to prevent any default on the bonds, but with the structure of the district's payment schedule, he felt that the school district was in a good position and that setting the levy at $0.92 would not place the district in financial stress.
"In 2006, we were able to take advantage of a state program that added $0.18 per $100 of assessed valuation to our debt service fund through state aid. This helped build a reserve required to prevent a default in the event of decreased assessed valuation or lower than expected collection rates," Priest said.
According to a school press release dated Aug. 25, "The Thayer Board of Education understands its responsibility to the taxpayers in the district and called their 2003 general obligation bonds in 2008 and reissued them at lower interest rates that will save the district over $356,000 over the life of the bonds. The board will continue to work to eliminate the district's debt on the elementary building with the least amount of burden possible. The district appreciates the community and its support for our schools."
The next school board meeting is scheduled for Sept. 10 at 7 p.m. The public is welcome to attend.