Levy Vote On December Ballot | Schools
By Jennifer Lane
The general election is over, but Fort Dodge residents have another opportunity to vote and show support for their community this year. A vote on a Physical Plant & Equipment Levy (PPEL) will be held on December 4th.
PPEL is a special revenue fund providing a maximum of $1.67 per $1,000 of assessed valuation that can only be used for “bricks and mortar” needs of the school district such as construction, repair and renovation of buildings, and purchase of technology and transportation equipment.
The school board may approve 33 cents annually in property tax; and/or hold an election for up to $1.34 for a period of up to 10 years and funded by property tax or a combination of property tax and income surtax. A simple majority is needed for the levy to pass.
Currently Fort Dodge has a 33 cent board approved and 67 cent voter approved levy. The ballot will ask voters for a 67 cent increase, which would equate to approximately $34 per year in additional property taxes on a residential property with a $100,000 assessment. Residents’ K-12 share of their total tax liability was reduced by approximately $2 this year. With the proposed increase of 67 cents, residents’ K-12 share of their total tax bill would still be lower than any of the past four years (see graph at end of article).
The current levy generates $898,863 per year. If the additional 67 cents is approved, the levy would generate $1,501,100 per year.
“Our district has many infrastructure needs, including major renovations at Duncombe Elementary, Riverside Early Learning Center and Senior High totaling several millions of dollars, that we would like to have the funding to address,” stated Superintendent Doug Van Zyl. “The additional funds raised through PPEL will allow us to remain proactive in maintaining excellent learning environments for our students.”
Currently, items such as building repairs, buses, science labs, computer labs and other equipment are funded with PPEL. Without PPEL funds, General Fund dollars would have to cover these types of expenses. Using already scarce General Fund dollars for building projects, would take away dollars that are currently dedicated to instruction needs such as teachers, textbooks, heat and lighting, library needs and staff to support students.
A public forum regarding PPEL will be held on Thursday, November 29th at 7 p.m. at Fort Dodge Senior High. School personnel will discuss how PPEL funds are utilized by the district and answer questions about the vote.