The Northfield Public School District approved a preliminary 2022 property tax levy that actually is a decrease from 2021.

The School Board on Monday unanimously approved a 1.5% decrease in the levy (roughly $300,000), taking the total levy amount down to just more than $20 million. According to state law, the levy may now go down further, but may not go up.

Levy money represents only about a quarter of the Northfield district’s budgeted income, unlike cities and counties in the state, which generally are more reliant on generating their own funds.

However, as Finance Director Val Mertesdorf acknowledged Monday, this year’s levy was cut by declining enrollment. The decline was consistent with projections, she said.

“That is playing out as we projected, which is good: not good that we’re losing revenue, but good that were were projecting that and planning for it,” Mertesdorf said.

There are two parts to the school district levy: state approved, which was what was considered Monday, and voter approved, which is decided by referendum.

Mertesdorf noted that although the overall levy district-wide was going down, for some individual taxpayers, the dollar amount they pay in taxes may go up depending on the valuation of their home and if there’s a change from the prior year.

The public response to levy referendums such as that in 2018 was gratifying, she said.

“We are grateful for the community’s generosity and the wonderful opportunities this provides for our students,” she said in the meeting packet.

Another $116,000 was accidentally paid from the county to the district through a clerical error in their favor, Mertesdorf said.

A Truth in Taxation meeting for the district is planned for Dec. 13.

For more information on the school budget, visit northfieldschools.org/about/departments/finance.

Reach reporter Zach Kayser at 507-645-1115. ©Copyright 2021 APG Media of Southern Minnesota. All rights reserved.

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