North Branch schools  finalize 2020 levy

The final Truth-in-Taxation meeting for the area took place with the North Branch School District presenting a 5.06% increase in their levy over last year.

During the meeting, which was held in conjunction with the district’s regular meeting on Thursday, Dec. 12, Director of Finance and Human Resources Todd Tetzlaff presented an overview of the anticipated revenues, expenses and fund balances for the district.

According to Tetzlaff, after several years of struggling with the fund balance, the district is now heading in the right direction.

“We did end the school year better than anticipated in the unassigned fund balance,” Tetzlaff said. “We moved from a negative fund balance of $395,000 at the beginning of last school year to a fund balance of over $671,000 at the end of the school year. So very good news for us. So because revenues came in higher than expected and expenses were lower than expected, the fund balance grew throughout the course of last year.”

In terms of the levy, which will increase by $453,352, Tetzlaff explained that for school districts, formulas are established by the state legislature. They are also based on estimates from the previous years. 

“There are adjustments that happen the year after based on whether the estimate was over or under the actual revenue that was generated,” he said. 

He also noted that district levies are what are known as “equalized,” meaning that when property values are increased, then the levy will also increase. 

“However, there is a corresponding reduction in state aid,” he said.

He said the area’s property values within the district have increased by approximately 8%, but because of that equalization, the district’s levy will increase by just over 5%.

“The impact on local taxpayers varies, depending on how their property has increased in value,” he concluded.

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