Explaining An Operating Levy Ballot Issues and Assessed Valuation

An operating or general levy allows constituents within a school district to fund facility improvement and expansions through a property tax.

The June 2nd vote is an effort to allow the district to raise $22 million to provide storm shelters at the early childhood center, Benton Elementary, Central Elementary, and the Neosho Middle School. The levy will also allow the district to expand the early childhood program, build a performing arts center and multipurpose facility, update the field house, and update band and choir facilities in the high school. Additionally, through a Proposition C waiver, the district would be able to provide more competitive salaries to recruit and retain excellent faculty and staff.

A levy is paid through property taxes (both real and personal).  So how do we know how much that is and how they determine what to tax?

The county determines the “assessed” value.  The county periodically sets this amount and it is based upon “fair market value” of your home, agriculture, commercial and personal property.  Based upon the “fair market value ” of your property, a percentage of each of these categories becomes your “assessed value” and helps determine your tax base.  So what is the percentage?

Fair market value is assessed at different percentages by the county.  Residential property is 19%, commercial property is 32%, agriculture is 12%, and personal property is 33 1/3%.  An example is as follows:  If you own a home that could sell on the market for $80,000, the assessed value is 19% of this amount ($80,000 X 19%) which is $15,200.  If you own a car that could sell for $6,000, the assessed value is 33 1/3% of this amount ($6,000 X 33 1/3%) which is $2,000.  See the difference in assessed value?   We aren’t taxed on the $80,000 but instead the $15,200.  The assessed value is much less.

So, how do I determine my tax increase based upon these values?  The vote on June 2nd is for a .39 cent levy increase to our existing levy of $3.35 per $100 of assessed value.  To determine how much more per year that would be you must understand how they use the assessed value to apply the tax.

Let’s take the example above.  The $80,000 home was assessed at $15,200.  The tax increase being asked for is $0.39 per $100 assessed.  This means you take the assessed value and divide by 100 ($15,200/100) = 152.  This is then multiplied by the levy.  The ballot issue will ask for an increase of $0.39 cents would mean (152 X $0.39) or a $59.28 tax increase for your home taxes (That is $4.94 per month).  Let’s look at the car assessed at $2,000.  ($2,000/100) = 20.  You then multiply that by the $0.39 increase which is a $7.80 personal property tax increase on your car for the entire year, or $0.65 per month.

The best way to determine your tax investment in Neosho’s future is to call the county assessor at 451-8258.   If you enjoy doing math, your tax statement that is mailed annually will break these areas out for you and you can use the example above to calculate your tax investment.   As the value of property increases, so will your tax liability.  In the same way, as the value of personal property decreases, so could your personal property tax liability.  We are not trying to hide the fact that a $0.39 levy increase does increase your taxes, but what we must keep in mind the tax increase is an investment that will go a long way for our community’s future.