Other tax units seek increased levies
Marion isn’t alone in proposing a significant increase in its property tax levy.
A state-mandated mailer this week explains potential tax increases to taxpayers before taxing units adopt budgets and actual tax bills appear later this year.
While most smaller taxing units in the county opted to stick with so-called revenue-neutral budgets to impose the same dollar amount of taxes they did in the current year, many larger taxing units are proposing to increase their levies.
Most are proposing taxing residents at a mill rate close to the same as the current year’s rate, but all could have raised the same total by cutting the rate.
The changes are spelled out in special notices, newly required this year and mailed to every taxpayer in the county.
From data provided by the county clerk’s office and published in a series of public notices in this newspaper, here are the percentage increases in tax levies, as determined by estimated mill rates, proposed by taxing units that have substantial reach in Marion County.
Marion County 5.236%
Lost Springs 6.450%
Districts have multiple levies. These are for all levies combined. Multi-county districts with only small portions inside the county are excluded.
Goessel USD 411 8.594%
Hillsboro USD 410 1.114%
Marion USD 408 2.099%
Peabody-Burns USD 398 8.196%
Durham Park 62.543%
Lost Springs 5.669%
West Branch 32.440%
Lost Springs 65.517%
Prairie Lawn 10.040%
Multi-county districts with only small portions inside the county are excluded.
Chisholm Trail Extension 3.654%
County Lake (Improvement 2) 6.350%
Doyle Creek Watershed 10.641%
Hillsboro Recreation 4.710%
St. Luke (Hospital District 1) 4.944%
Percentages may different slightly from what is reported elsewhere primarily because of rounding in calculating mills.
Nearly all other significant taxing units based in the county have opted to go revenue-neutral.
Spencer said the new law had caused concern for her office and taxing units.
“You’re always going to go above revenue neutral if you keep the levy the same and the valuation went up,” Spencer said.
Marion County’s taxable valuation has increased $8.49 million this year, she said.
Some of that is attributable to improvements and elimination of tax exemptions, but some also is attributable to increased valuation assigned to property on which no improvements have been made.
This year and next year, the state will reimburse the $9,000 cost of mailing out notices to taxpayer under direction of the county clerk’s office. After that, the county will bill the cost proportionately back to taxing districts.
“I understand what the intent of the law is, but it’s costing the taxpayers,” Spencer said.
Proponents of the notices, including several legislators who became candidates for statewide office, contend it could save taxpayers if they challenge increased spending of taxpayer money and are not lulled into thinking taxes haven’t increased just because estimated mill rates have stayed close to the same, especially if their own individual tax bills increase.
Reporter Phyllis Zorn contributed to this story.
Last modified Aug. 17, 2022