Washington Evening Journal

Fairfield Ledger   Mt. Pleasant News
Neighbors Growing Together | Sep 24, 2018

Excellence together

By Mark Schneider

In a previous article I reviewed the projects that would be included in the April 1 Mid-Prairie bond referendum.   In this column I would like to review the financial details.’
The bond issue is for $10,640,000.  This is the estimated total design, construction and bonding cost for the items detailed in the previous article.   Shive-Hattery architects and engineers and our financial advisor, Piper Jaffray, determined the total estimated costs.
A primary question asked by potential voters is how will the bond issue affect their property taxes if it passes.  Property taxes for bond issues are calculated on net “taxable” value – not “assessed” or “market” value.  The appropriate rollback and homestead credit need to be applied before calculating the total annual tax.
Section 441.21 of the Code of Iowa provides for the reduction of property tax valuations according to assessment limitations (rollback) to cushion the impact of inflation. The Iowa Department of Revenue annually computes rollback percentages, and county auditors multiply the assessed valuations by them to determine taxable valuations.
The current property tax levy for the bond issue Mid-Prairie voters passed in 1996 is $1.48 per $1,000 of taxable value.  The proposed new rate is $2.08 per $1,000 of taxable value – an increase of $0.60.  
For a homeowner with a house assessed at $100,000, the annual increase in total property taxes, after the rollback to 54.4 percent and the homestead credit are applied, is $30.71 a year – or $2.56 a month.
For a commercial property owner with a building assessed at $100,000, the annual increase in total property taxes, after a rollback to 95 percent is applied, is $56.87 a year – or $4.74 a month.
Agricultural ground is taxed on its “productivity,” not “market” value.  For bare farm ground with a productivity value of $1,200 per acre, the annual increase in total property taxes, after a rollback to 43.4 percent is applied, is $0.31 per acre a year.
Another issue of concern to voters is how the district’s property tax rate compares to other school districts in the area.  Mid-Prairie’s current tax rate this year is $11.91.  If the bond issue passes, the tax rate for next year is calculated to be $12.40.  Below are the current (FY2014) tax rates for area school districts:

Columbus    $17.89
Mt Vernon    $17.38
Highland    $16.52
West Liberty    $16.41
Solon    $16.00
Clear Creek - Amana    $15.11
Washington    $14.65
Williamsburg    $14.15
West Branch    $13.98
Iowa City    $13.69
English Valley    $13.68
Lone Tree    $12.73
Mid-Prairie (Estimated - If Bond Issue Passes)    $12.40
Mid-Prairie (Current)    $11.91
Keota    $11.69

Between now and April 1, I am willing to meet with any community or church group to answer questions about the issues surrounding the bond referendum.  I will also answer any individual’s question.  If you have questions or would like to arrange a presentation to your group, simply call my cell phone (319-936-8601) or send me an e-mail (mschneider@mphawks.org).