Local property owners will pay a few cents less in 1992 taxes than previously estimated, now that the Lawrence school district valuation numbers are in hand.
Douglas County has received the school district's valuation figures for the part of the district that reaches into Jefferson County; the 1992 tax levy for Lawrence residents has been set at 107.855 mills as a result. That levy is 0.029 mills less than what was approved in August by the county commission, city comission and Lawrence school district.
A mill is $1 of tax for every $1,000 in assessed property valuation.
The lower levy comes from higher property valuations in the county, city and school district. Since August, valuations increased by $143,589 in the school district, $104,375 in the county and $86,090 in the city.
THE FINAL levies are 48.269 mills for the Lawrence school district, 29.925 mills for the county, 28.161 mills for the city of Lawrence and 1.5 mills for the state.
The final levy also is 25.973 mills less than the 1991 levy of 133.828 mills, a 19.4 percent decrease. The decrease is tied to the 1992 school finance plan passed by the Kansas Legislature. The plan cut the property taxes needed to support most of the state's 304 school districts while increasing the state sales tax and income taxes on people in the upper tax bracket.
Last year, the local school levy was 77.044 mills. This year's school levy represents a decrease of 28.775 mills.
"I'm really happy as a school board member that some of the burden for schools has been shifted from the property tax," School Board Vice President John Tacha said this morning. "I realize that the burden has merely been shifted, but I'm happy about the shift.
"It's important now that we try to do everything we can to keep the property tax from going right back up to where it was."
TACHA SAID that even if the district's proposed $29.9 million school bond issue passes this November, the local school mill levy would be "considerably less" than it was last year. It is estimated that the bond issue would require an average annual additional levy of 6.23 mills over 15 years.
The bond issue proposal calls for two new elementary schools and a fourth junior high school. It also would allow for the renovation of Lawrence High School and Central Junior High School and the expansion of Wakarusa Valley School.
The city's levy decreased by 0.009 of a mill from last year. The county's levy increased by 2.811 mills from last year, and the state's 1.5-mill levy stayed the same.
To calculate a tax bill, Lawrence residents should multiply the assessed value of their homes by .107855, the decimal equivalent of the county's total levy. That calculation will give the tax bill in dollars.
FOR EXAMPLE, a home appraised at $80,000 carries an assessed value of $9,600. To compute assessed value of residential property, multiply the appraised value $80,000 in this example by 12 percent, which is the rate at which residential property is assessed.
When $9,600 is multiplied by the .107855 levy, the total tax bill is $1,035.41.
The same tax bill last year would have been $1,284.75, meaning a savings of $249.34 from a year ago.
When the preliminary levies were announced in August, the tax bill would have been $1,035.69. Compared to the final mill levy, that difference plus a penny would buy a postage stamp.