According the Grand County School Business Administrator Robert Farnsworth, the board opted to increase the levy so that the district could start saving money to go towards either renovations or rebuilding at Grand County Middle School.
“The board ... decided to delay a decision on the middle school until they have some funds to work with,” Farnsworth said.
Farnsworth said that the Capital Local Levy is designed to be used for remodeling or rebuilding needs in the district. State law caps the levy at 0.003 percent. Currently the local rate is at 0.000362 percent, 12 percent of that limit. Unlike a bond, increasing the amount of taxes collected through the Capital Local Levy can be done at the discretion of the school board and does not require voter approval.
The San Juan School District has used increases to the Capital Local Levy in place of seeking voter-approved bonds, Farns-worth said during a meeting in March. The San Juan District has the highest Capital Local Levy in the state, and each year the district sets that money aside so that it is available when needed for building or renovations to San Juan schools, Farnsworth said.
The Grand County Board of Education approved a tax increase of 0.000156 percent on the Capital Local Levy, during its June board meeting. That increase will result in an additional $200,000 per year in revenues, which will be held in the Capital Development Fund, Farnsworth said.
“In an effort to meet the rising cost of improving and maintaining facilities, The Grand County Board of Education will develop a five-year facility maintenance plan using the current capital local levy revenue and create a Capital Development Fund,” according to a written statement from Grand County School District Superintendent Scott Crane.
He said the revenue generated “will be placed in Utah Public Treasurers’ Investment Fund and will be dedicated for future capital needs.”
According to Crane, the impact of the tax increase will raise local property taxes approximately $17.18 per year on a $200,000 home and about $156.22 on a business valued at $1 million.
School board member Melissa Byrd clarified that when calculating the value of a business for tax purposes, only the land and buildings are taken into account.
In addition to the increase in the Capital Local Levy, the tentative budget also assumes that the remainder of the tax rates collected by the district will stay at the same level as they were during the 2012-2013 fiscal year, Farnsworth said.
The board will not vote on the final budget until after the Truth-in-Taxation hearing, which will be held Aug.14 at 6 p.m. at the Grand County School District Office, 264 South 400 East. During that hearing, the tax freeze and Capital Local Levy increase will be explained in greater detail, district officials said. The public will also be invited to comment on the proposed changes.