taxpayers will likely see an increase in the school portion of their 2012 tax bill, but their total tax bill could actually be less than 2011 because of a decrease in property values.
The Racine Unified School Board unanimously voted at their Oct. 25 meeting to levy an amount of $81.5 million for the 2011-2012 budget.
Mil rates will go up to $8.94 per $1,000 equalized value, a $0.53, or 6.29 percent, increase from last year. That means a homeowner whose property is valued at $150,000 would now pay $1,341, an increase of $79.5. However, if the equalized value of the property is reduced, the property owner would pay less. Though tax rates will increase, officials contend that Unified’s levies are among the lowest in the state. Kenosha Unified School District, for example, assessed a $10.60 mil rate in its previous fiscal year.
“Our belief is that we’re among the lowest in the state,” said Racine Unified Chief Financial Officer Dave Hazen.
Property taxes are estimated to increase about $3.4 million, a 4.43 percent increase from last year. The tax rate is influenced by a 1.75 percent decrease in property value, the third year in a row that values have decreased.
About $850,000 of the levy is being reinstated from two years ago for community service programs, which fund after school activities. Another $786,000 will fund an energy efficiency lighting project.
The district expects revenues of about $226.32 million in the current fiscal year, a decrease of about $10 million from last year. It expects to end the fiscal year with a surplus of about $1.26 million.
“Early on, we recognized savings in healthcare from switching to a high deductible plan,” Hazen said. “We budgeted a surplus to make up for last year’s budget. The first three months of the current fiscal year look very positive.”