School district 535 faces property tax increase - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

By Heidi Wigdahl

School district 535 faces property tax increase

ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- Homeowners in the Rochester Public School District may see a 2.16% increase in their property taxes next year.

"Any reduction in our levy authority reduces our overall revenue to pay our bills," said Larry Smith, RPS Executive Director of Finance.

In September, the RPS board set a maximum property tax increase of 2.28%.

Smith brought a new proposal of 2.16% to the "Truth in Taxation" hearing on Tuesday.

However, the amount property owners pay would differ. For example, an owner of a house worth $100,000 in Eyota would pay about $782 in property taxes per year. However, a house in Rochester would pay $393.

"Your proportion of the taxes would be impacted by any change in your market value," Smith said.

One resident, Hank Eyrich, saw a 6% increase in his property taxes last year.

"Why are my taxes going up three times the rate of inflation?" he asked.

Eyrich is also concerned about how this new property tax will affect retirees like himself.

"I've got one nickel since I retired, one nickel, and I'm sure I'm not alone," Eyrich said.

RPS Board Director Fred Daly led the discussion of possibly not going through with an increase. However, this would mean holding off on maintenance projects for school buildings such as the "Indoor Air Quality" act that is in phase 2 at three schools.

"A small increase in taxes is worth it in the long run for the preservation of our buildings and the preservation of our students," said Paul Messick, a student at Mayo High School.

RPS board will hold the levy certification at Tuesday's regular board meeting.

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