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Ottawa High requests tax levy increase

Ottawa taxpayers should see modest increases to their property taxes for Ottawa High School if the proposed levy is extended as presented.

The board on Monday proposed an $11,710,200 tax levy, exclusive of debt service. The aggregate amount extended in 2016 was $11,276,750. The proposed levy represents a 3.84 percent increase, exclusive of debt service. In 2016, there was a 2.34 percent increase extended.

"Understand and realize we levy to capture all funds available," Superintendent Mike Cushing told the board. "Last year, we were extended 1.47 percent less than what we requested."

Based on the proposed levy, the owner of a $100,000 home could see a $3.29 increase for their Ottawa High School property taxes, while the owner of a $250,000 home could see an $8.23 increase.

The board is expected to approve the final levy request at the Monday, Dec. 11, meeting.

Roenfeldt and Lockas presented the audit report, which the board later approved.

The audit noted there was a $1.4 million deficit in the education fund, with a $2.24 million deficit in 2015 and a $2.1 million deficit in 2016. The board had approved a $2.4 million transfer from working cash to the education fund and $200,000 transfer from working cash to the operations and maintenance fund.

The auditor noted expenditures in 2017 at $14,023,162 are less than they were in 2009 at $14,378,759. Revenue continues to decrease due to state assistance not being paid, the real estate tax and interest rates not generating as much income on investments.

"There is nothing surprising in terms of the audit," Cushing said. "As (the auditor) mentioned, there continues to be a revenue issue for the district. Hopefully with the approval of evidence-based funding, we'll see an increase in $383,000 from the state this year."

In other business

The board:
  • Approved 2018 coursework for Superintendent Mike Cushing.
  • Approved special education workload.
  • Received an annual donation from Steve Wilson, president of the Ottawa FFA Alumni Boosters, for $5,400.

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