Osakis School Board members approved the district’s property tax levy at the Truth in Taxation meeting Monday, Dec. 9.

The levy is $1,807,619.88, an increase of 1.88% or $56,606.76. Last year’s levy was $1,751,013.12.

Osakis Superintendent Randy Bergquist provided information at the meeting to school board members and residents who were present.

The district could have done the maximum levy certification allowed by the state, which was a 5.11% increase, but Bergquist recommended the 1.88%, which is well-below the state average, he said.

“I think taxpayers and farmers would appreciate it,” he said.

School Board member Tom Grundman made the motion to put the levy increase at the 1.88% percent instead of the 5.11% increase. It unanimously passed.

During his presentation, Bergquist said that the state Legislature and governor establish overall tax policies and they are the sole authorities to create school levy options. They also control school levy parameters including the amount of state aid a school district receives and the tax bases used for levies.

Three state law changes will impact property taxes payable in 2020, including the Ag2School bond credit, which will be increased to 50%, Bergquist said. The Ag2School credit is scheduled to scale to 70% in 2023. The revenue for the Ag2School program comes from state income, sales and other tax revenues.

In addition, the different tax categories and tax language was simplified, as well as there was an increase in the state share of operating referendum equalization.

Bergquist also said the Osakis School District is one of the smaller school districts that does not have an operating referendum.

In other action

During the regular school board meeting, which took place prior to the Truth in Taxation meeting, school members approved the following actions:

  • Resolution establishing the combined polling places for the 2020 election.

  • Donations in the amount of $7,319 from the following: Osakis VFW, Osakis Silverstreak Grid Iron Club, Lions Club, Minnesota Industries, Michael Collins DDS, Alex Rubbish and Recycling, IPM and Kathleen Cargill.

  • Hiring Jordan Janski as a paraprofessional.

  • Leave of absence for Breann Adolphsen, paraprofessional.