Roaring Fork levy drops despite hike approved by voters |

Roaring Fork levy drops despite hike approved by voters

When voters approved a mil-levy override last month for the Roaring Fork School District, they expected a tax increase.

Well, surprise.

With an 18 percent increase in the school district’s assessed valuation, the school district’s total mil levy will actually drop by 2 mils, even with a 4-mil increase for the override.

The lower total mil levy may still result in a higher tax bill, however, if the assessed value of one’s property increased by more than 5 percent.

In action taken Wednesday, the Roaring Fork School Board approved a total mil levy of 41.445 mils, according to district finance officer Shannon Pelland. That levy will be applied to 1999 property taxes, which are billed for and payable in 2000.

The total mil levy includes 28.762 mils for the school district’s general operating fund, 8.452 mils for its bond repayments, 4.128 for the mil-levy override, and 0.103 mils for refunds and abatements.

Those levies are budgeted to raise $21.7 million in property taxes from landowners from Glenwood Springs to Basalt. Of that, $15.35 million will be used in the general fund, $4.35 million for bond repayments and $2 million for the override.

Override revenues will be used to give teachers and staff a cost-of-living salary increase, hire more teachers for primary grades and upgrade computer technology. It’s a permanent addition to the school district’s levy.

The override is pegged at the $2 million level, so as assessed values rise, the mil levy needed to raise $2 million will decline.

For the owner of a home valued at $200,000, school taxes in 2000 will be about $807, with $80 added for the new override.

Last year, the owner of a $200,000 home would have paid $850, without the override.

However, if that home was valued at $180,000 last year and rose to $200,000 with this year’s assessment, that tax bill would climb from $765 last year to $807 this year.

Mil levies for the Roaring Fork School District have been on a steady decline as the assessed value of property in the district has been steadily increasing, thanks to a booming real estate market.

The levy was 51.2 mils in 1997, 43.4 mils in 1998, 43.6 mils in 1999, and is now down to 41.4 mils.

Enrollment in the district also continues to decline. Total enrollment was counted at 4,728 students in the 1998-99 school year. This fall’s official count pegs the total at 4,673 students, 55 fewer.

“The big decrease is at the elementary level. We’re losing a lot of young families that can’t afford to stay here,” Pelland said.

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