The Austin School Board approved the final certified 2019 payable 2020 levy for the district after its annual Truth in Taxation hearing Monday evening at the Austin City Council chambers.

Lori Volz, Executive Director of Finance and Operations for the district recommended that the board pass the levy in the amount of $8,186,674 for 2020, a 16.01% increase in the school portion of a property owner’s tax bill from the 2019 levy of $7,056,761.  Volz stated to the board that the district must approve the levy for property taxes payable in 2020 by December 31st. The levy limit is determined by the Minnesota Department of Education and is based on Minnesota statutes, as well as information supplied by each district relating to referendum authority, enrollment and intent to participate in various programs.  Volz stated to the board that the levy limit indicated in the recommendation is based on information provided by the Department of Education.  

In other business, the Austin School Board unanimously approved the extension of the Austin Home Initiative Program offering 5-year tax abatements for eligible homes through December 31st, 2020, and they also approved a tax abatement request for Kevin and Doreen Nelson for property located at 2407 12th Avenue Southwest in Austin.  The board also received an overview of the district’s audit report for 2018-2019 and approved the report at the conclusion of the presentation, and they also received an overview of the budget planning timeline for the district for 2020-2021 from Lori Volz, who stated that work is already underway with the review of enrollment projections for 2020-2021 and the district’s administrative team meeting regarding staffing.  The board later retired to a closed session to review student data that is not public and to request approval of confidential resolutions regarding student expulsions per Minnesota statute.

The next meeting for the Austin School Board will be their organizational meeting for 2020 on January 6th at 12 noon at the Austin City Council chambers.