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Voters at annual meeting say yes to $29 million levy

Voters in the Hudson School District approved a tax levy of more than $29 million for 2012-13 at the annual meeting Tuesday night.

The 2012-13 school budget is $49,840,642, up from $48,873,754 last year. The total amount of the tax levy is $29,188,175 which includes $24,587,450 for the general operating fund and $4,600,725 for debt service.

Voters present at the meeting approved the new levy 48 to 8.

That represents an increase of 2.87 percent over last year's levy of $28,373,543 or a mill rate of $9.53 per $1,000 of property valuation. And because of declining property values in the district, that mill rate is 10.54 percent higher than last year's rate of $8.62.

According to preliminary figures from the Department of Revenue, property values in the five municipalities that are included in the district dropped by an average of 6.9 percent. Broken down the valuations are as follows:

--City of Hudson, down 3 percent

--Town of Hudson, down 12.55 percent

--Town of St. Joseph, down 13 percent

--Town of Troy, down .18 percent

--North Hudson, down 8.46 percent.

As has been the case in the budget process since the start of the recession, there is both good and bad news.

The good news is that state education aid will increase by approximately $1.5 million to $24,323,900, up from last year's $22.7 million. The bad news is that district will not be receiving $1.1 million that it did as part of the federal education and jobs act, a two year grant that ended last year. And the district will again "under levy" taxpayers (the levy amount allowed by state law) by $14 million.

The new budget does include interest of around $475,000 that would result from the anticipated $8.25 million purchase of the St. Croix Meadows property for a new secondary school. The purchase was approved by voters in the April referendum. The sale is contingent upon the rezoning of the property by the City of Hudson, at vote that is expected at their meeting on Monday, Sept. 17.

The district's fund balance, a cash on hand account, stands at $18,095,562. School board policy states that the fund balance must stay within 25-30 percent of the district's annual budget. The current balance stands just over 30 percent.

For more information about the district's new budget to go or contact the Financial Services Office at (715)377-3704.

Meg Heaton

Meg Heaton has been a reporter with the Hudson Star Observer since 1990. She has a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and Native American Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

(715) 808-8604