Superintendent: District levy, taxes may increase

Revenue continues to drop, official says

OREGON – Like many other taxing bodies, the Oregon School District’s shrinking value may mean higher real estate taxes for residents.

Superintendent Tom Mahoney told the school board Monday that he is recommending increasing the district’s total tax levy by 2.5 percent, meaning a possible increase for some property owners.

However, even with the higher levy, the district will collect fewer tax dollars because its equalized assessed value (EAV) has decreased in the past couple of years and is expected to go down again next year.

The EAV in 2012 was $194 million and for 2013 is $187 million.

Real estate taxes payable in 2014 are based on the 2013 property value.

To make ends meet, Mahoney said, the district must increase revenue or decrease expenditures.

“Decreasing expenditures means eliminating people,” he said.

Between the losses in real estate taxes and state aid, Mahoney said, the district’s revenue has dipped more than $1 million over the past 2 years.

The board is expected to vote on the proposed tax levy at its December meeting.

Despite that, The financial news was not all bad.

Mahoney said district finances are in good shape, and spending is where it should be at this point in the fiscal year, which began July 1.

The state has caught up on the state aid payments owed to the district for last year, he said.

The state owes the district only $300,000 for this year.

However, Mahoney said the state has reduced the amount of General State Aid it is obligated to pay school districts.

“The reason they’re no longer behind is because they’re paying us less,” he said.

In an effort to curb expenses, the district had hired Expense Reduction Analysts, a Chicago firm that studies how businesses and taxing bodies can operate more efficiently financially.

Mahoney said the firm’s analysis of the district’s spending showed school officials are being frugal. The only area of concern, he said, was that the district is paying too much for property insurance.

Mahoney said he is looking into getting more competitive bids on the insurance.