City of Crookston, school district set preliminary levy

Jess Bengtson
Crookston Times

    The Crookston School Board took Superintendent Jeremy Olson’s recommendation and voted to set the preliminary tax levy payable in 2022 at 7.5%, the maximum allowed, with the hope to get down to an average of under 4% by December. Olson said that when looking at what the city and county are considering he doesn’t feel that 7.5% is “reasonable” and mentioned there will be a “a lot of corrections” up until the December school board meeting.

    “There are several different areas we could under-levy as some portions of the levy the state will give us a dollar and the taxpayers will give us a dollar; another portion is every dollar raised locally we get a dollar, it depends on the formula,” he explained. “It would be poor strategy to under-levy where you would get money from both the state and taxpayer. My recommendation would be to levy less than the 7.5% and shoot more towards our average which has been about 3.6%. This is a safety protocol with the intention of not hitting that and come in at a smaller percentage.”

    School Board member Mike Theis said he appreciated Olson’s efforts with the levy and knows the City of Crookston will set their preliminary levy at 10% and Polk County at 4% which was a “tremendous burden” on taxpayers.

    “I do appreciate you looking at the under-levy ideas as long as it doesn’t affect state aid,” Theis added. “I think we need to be very responsible.”

    Olson stated that working towards their average was only possible due to the strong fiscal position the district is in which was a result of them being “responsible for several years” which was a “luxury” they were able to have.

CITY OF CROOKSTON

    The Crookston City Council officially approved the preliminary 2022 tax levy at 10% this week with City Administrator Amy Finch touching on some changes made to the tax levy since the last Ways & Means Committee meeting. While the changes didn’t affect the percentage of the preliminary tax levy, Finch mentioned she received some “firmed up” numbers on the projected 2022 housing abatements which brought the levy down approximately $5,000. She also said a change in a calculation was made on how the preliminary tax levy would affect a $200,000 residential household with the estimate down from the previously reported number.

    The city’s Truth in Taxation hearing is scheduled for December 13 at 6 p.m. at City Hall in the Council Chambers prior to the regularly-scheduled City Council meeting.