How Much Will the Opt Out Cost Me?

There has been much discussion in our school district since the Board passed the resolution to have an election on March 22 for the Opt Out.  Many questions have been asked, and we’ve provided a number of answers in a previous blog post.  One of the most common questions that seems to be asked is: “how much will this cost me, personally?”   The answer to that question is dependent upon how much property you own, and what the taxable value of that property is.  The best numbers we have are based on the 2015 property valuations.  The information for your specific property can be found at the Minnehaha County website.  When you get to the website, you either need the street address of the property, or the legal description of the property.  This will allow you to calculate the increase in taxes based on your property’s present value.

Based on 2015 property values, approval of the opt out would change the levies  as follows:

  • Ag property – will increase by $0.84 per thousand in taxable valuation
  • Owner-Occupied property – will increase by $2.19 per thousand in taxable valuation
  • Non-Ag / Utilities property – will increase by $4.68 per thousand in taxable valuation

The following document includes a spreadsheet that outlines what these levies mean based on a variety of possible property values.

Opt out levies $500,000

The median home value in Garretson is around $140,000, according to US Census Data (2010-2014 American Community Survey 5-year estimates).  At the rate of $2.19 per thousand, the average homeowner would see an increase in taxes of $306.60 per year.  The cost to the average homeowner would be around $25.55 per month.

Our school district is made up of 88 square miles.  Of which, 49,598 acres of that ground is classified as Ag property.  All of those acres have a total taxable value of $130,490,777 (2015 property valuation).  Based on those numbers, the average value of an acre of ag ground in our district is $2,631.  If we apply the levy of $0.84 per thousand in valuation, each of those acres will see an average increase in taxes of $2.21 per acre.  We must keep in mind that ag land values, for tax purposes, are not based on the actual value of the land if it were sold, but is based on a productivity formula, so some land is more valuable and some is less valuable based on the type of soil and possible production.

As we continue to discuss this important community issue, it is my goal to ensure that people have access to the best and most accurate information possible.  If you have questions regarding the the opt out, the levies or finances of the district, I encourage you to contact me, and I will be happy to help.

Guy Johnson



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