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Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Dawson Community College taxes down slightly from last year

By Kyle Vuille

Ranger-Review Staff Writer

When the 2018 fiscal year budget for Dawson Community College was finalized and approved last month, the mill levies were only estimates, but the actual size and amount of each levy was calculated and finalized for the board of trustees to approve on Aug. 28.

The total mills levied for the college saw a slight overall decrease from fiscal year 2017, with last year’s totaling $1,707,400 to this year’s $1,696,616.

“Overall, you’re saving the taxpayers about $11,000 this year, which in a year when we’ve been cut quite a bit ... it’s nice that our taxpayers aren’t going to see a heavy burden,” Vice President of Administration Kathleen Zander said. 

A district mill is valued at $22,741.07 this year, compared to last year’s $21,486.55. 

The mandatory mill levy is based on a formula from the state. The mandatory mill levy will use fewer mills, but the actual dollar amount has increased slightly. The mill is down 0.65 from last year’s 35.81, but the number of mills is higher. This year’s amount was $799,576 making the difference between last year’s amount about $30,000.

The permissive medical levy is used to pay for the college’s portion of medical coverage for about 54 employees. Last year, the medical levy was 10.05 mills and is now 10.73, making the amount go from $216,000 to $244,054.

The additional voted levy has been decided by local voters to stay the same dollar amount every year. The additional voted levy amounts to $144,000. However, the number of mills levied changed this year from 6.70 to 6.33.

The total amount between the three levies (mandatory, permissive medical and voted) comes to $1,187,630. Last year’s total of the three was $1,129,359.

Those same three levies go into the general fund whereas the retirement levy, adult education and debt are transferred and distributed into different funds.

The retirement levy saw an increase this year. The retirement levy pays for retirement expenses for employees and teachers, medicare and social security for the year. 

The increase in mills was 2.04 and the actual dollar amount was set at $227,622, compared to last year’s $171,145. Money from the retirement fund is transferred into the general fund at the end of the year to cover the expenses. Zander said the transfer is usually around $400,000.

Zander also explained that the actual dollar amount this year for the retirement levy is higher because the entire amount didn’t transfer over from last year.

The amount milled for adult education was up slightly from last year’s $73,908 to $79,536. The mill levy increased 0.06. Zander said this mill runs close to the same year to year. The levy accounts for salaries, benefits and any other miscellaneous expenses coming out of that account.

The debt levy covers the obligation bonds for the Toepke Center and the library expansion. Zander said the bond is expected to be paid off by 2022. 

The number of mills accessed went from 15.05 to 8.88  and the dollar amount dropped $131,160 from last year’s $332,988. 

Zander also said there was $100,000 leftover from last year that attributed to this year’s decrease. She explained that money is a result of oil and gas revenues and other sources. 

This year’s total debt payments, including principal, interest and fees will be about $304,000, according to Zander.

“In total, what we are asking the county to assess is $1,696,616 – 74.61 mills. It’s a decrease from the previous year of $10,784,” Zander said.

The final levies were then  approved by all board members.

“I will tell you that in the mandatory and the permissive I milled the total amount allotted, and retirement, adult ed and debt are based on what the reserve is and what our cash balance is,” Zander said.

Reach Kyle Vuille at news@rangerreview.com.

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