Here’s a useful report from the Trib. But it doesn’t tell the whole story.
Caveat one: While Duluth may not be the highest taxed non metro city we do have one of the highest numbers of people on fixed incomes for which any tax increase is particularly hard to take.
Caveat two: Spending $300 million on a largely unnecessary project just because it doesn’t push over the average community’s property taxes is a poor excuse for such spending.
Caveat three: City infrastructure, not school district infrastructure, is what really needs to be addressed.
Caveat four: The Trib reports a much greater school tax increases than the District. This is from the story:
” year ago, Duluth was No. 140 on the list, but a large increase in taxes related to the school district’s long-range facilities plan boosted the city 28 spots to the middle of the pack. The school district received $499 — a jump of $189 from 2007 — based on the average home value.”
Thus the Trib reports an annual Red Plan increase on the average homeowner of $310. But the following excerpt from a School District ad gives the increase as $109 or 12 x $9.10. Do ya think the School District low balled their figures?:
“How much is construction inflation and financing? If you include construction inflation over 5 years add $36 million to $257 million and it’s $293 million. If you add 20 years financing to the $293 million you get a total of about $407 million. However, keep in mind construction inflation and financing are included in the calculations of about $9.10 a month on a $125,000 home, and an increase of less than $3 a year on a home assessed at $125,100.
Was the Long Range Facilities Plan included in 2008 Property Tax Statements? Yes, 2008 property tax statements included costs for the plan, and the increase was within the boundaries of what we said it would be.
Will property taxes go up each year because of the plan? After the first year, the plan is expected to go up an average of less than $3 a year on a home assessed at $125,100. Income levels in the community are expected to rise at a level higher than that.
How do Duluth school tax rates compare to non-metro cities? Duluth ranks 34th of 35 non-metro cities for 2007 effective school tax rates. Implementation of the facilities plan will keep Duluth’s school tax rate below average. (Effective School Tax Rate is the percent of average home market value paid in property taxes. This rate takes into account differences in home values and wealth from one community to the next, to make it a fair comparison).”