The Rushford-Peterson school district is facing a controversial referendum vote Wednesday, Dec. 19, that could place the burden of payment for a proposed $15 million early education building on the shoulders of residents who own property in the school district.
The ultimate goal of the project, which is in its first phase, is to locate all Rushford-Peterson (R-P) students at one site. The entire project would be financed with a 20-year bond, at an interest rate of 3.9 percent, which will cost taxpayers nearly $23 million over the life of the bond.
If voters pass the referendum, commercial properties, agricultural homesteads, and other homes throughout the district could see a steep increase in property taxes. In a recent news article in another publication, figures for the property tax increase were inaccurate; accurate figures are listed below.
Agricultural homesteads to see largest increase
According to the 2012 school tax report outlined in the R-P referendum brochure, owners of agricultural homesteads (the greatest number of county properties) valued at $500,000 who currently pay yearly taxes of $497, would pay $1,237. Agricultural property owners with homesteads valued at $1,000,000, who currently $711 annually, would see their taxes triple to $2,131.
Commercial property owners with property valued at $500,000, lwho currently pay annual taxes of $2,113, would receive a tax bill of $4,613, well above the state average of $3,132.
Homeowners with property valued at $125,000, who now pay yearly taxes of $415, would see their rate increase to $684, which is above the state average of $462.
According to the project timeline, if the referendum passes, construction on the new school will begin in July 2013, and will open in August 2014. Only residents of the Rushford-Peterson school district may vote on the referendum.
Voting will be Wednesday, December 19, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. in the Rushford-Peterson High School gym lobby.
Residents may receive a tax impact analysis by submitting their parcel identification number to Ehler's Financial Services Education Team at 1-800-552-1171 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.