LONGMONT — The St. Vrain Valley School District’s $17.3 million mill-levy override proposal will cost individual property owners slightly less than initially advertised.
Ballot measure 3A, if passed Nov. 1, would add about $173 a year to the tax bill of a residential property worth $250,000 and give the district an additional $800 per student in operating funds.
The district’s assessed valuation changed at the end of the summer, lowering slightly the property tax levy the district is asking voters to approve, from 9.134 mills to 8.717 mills, said district spokeswoman Nancy Herbert.
“The counties set the mill and then we can,” Herbert said. “All of our pre-August (literature) was a conservative estimation. As soon as the mill was set by the counties, we were able to establish what that amount would be.”
Before the district’s new valuation, officials estimated the mill-levy override proposal would add $182 a month in property taxes for a house worth $250,000.
In August every year, county assessors certify the assessed value of all properties within the boundaries of taxing entities such as school and fire districts.
The assessed value is calculated by multiplying a residential property’s value by the residential assessment rate, which was set by state law at 7.96 percent for 2005.
For nonresidential properties, the assessment rate is 29 percent.
Once the assessment rates for the school district were set, officials recalculated exactly how much of a property tax increase would be necessary to raise $17.3 million called for in the November ballot proposal.
“Increasing property values means decreasing mills,” said Debbie Lammers, spokeswoman for the “Yes on St. Vrain Valley Schools” committee.
Because the $17.3 million is a fixed amount, with no sunset clause, as the school district grows, the amount individual property owners would pay over time will diminish, Lammers said — assuming that the valuation of all the property in the district continues to increase.
“With a fixed dollar amount, the mills float down to collect the same dollars each year, more taxpayers to contribute, etc. The disadvantage to this scheme is that a fixed dollar collection loses buying power over time as the cost of goods and services rise with inflation,” Lammers said. “At that point, a district could return to voters if necessary.”
The school district’s current assessed property value is nearly $1.8 billion, about $1.4 billion of which is in Boulder County, she said.
Currently, total property taxes for the St. Vrain district are 40.089 mills. The mill-levy override would bring that to 48.806 mills, a 21.7 percent increase.
Paula Aven Gladych can be reached at 303-684-5211 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Breaking down the override
The St. Vrain Valley School District’s $17.3 million mill-levy override includes money for:
• Employees, including computer technicians, resource officers and elementary school counselors
• Operating new schools
• Improving student/teacher ratios
• Replacing outdated computers
• Expanding gifted and talented programs
• Cost to the owner of a $250,000 home: $173.47 per year
• Additional per-pupil revenue: about $800 per student