Mill Levy Information
Due to legislative action in 2009, Fargo Public Schools must gain approval from its voters to maintain a specified mill levy. Currently, Fargo Public Schools cannot receive any additional revenue through property valuation increases to offset annual rising costs of providing education to its students.
The vote on March 7, 2017 is not a request to increase property taxes. Fargo Public Schools’ current general fund mill levy is 127 mills. The request on the ballot is to approve the mill levy level at 127 mills. Approval of a specified levy simply allows Fargo Public Schools to collect property tax on the true assessed value of a taxpayer’s property.
In the last fiscal year, 2015-16, Fargo Public Schools had a general fund operating budget of $153.9 million from all sources of revenue.
The two most prominent revenue sources were local property tax and state funds. This is important to note because revenue from local property tax is currently frozen and due to revenue shortfalls at the state level new revenue will not be provided from the state.
Essentially, the District will not be able to maintain its current standard of effort without new dollars from these two revenue sources.
Mill Levy History
In 2001, the public voted to set a general fund cap of 297.35 mills for local tax collection, thus establishing what was then referred to as an excess mill levy, recently changed by state law to be a specified mill levy. Since that time, Fargo Public Schools has proven to be a good steward of taxpayer dollars by reducing the general fund levy by 170.35 mills, providing property tax savings to the local taxpayer. This was done in two parts:
1) The state legislature called for local mill reduction of 75 mills in 2009 and 50 mills in 2013, subsequently providing state revenue to the District to off-set the local mill levy reduction.
2) The District further reduced the mill levy by 45.35 mills over this period by showing fiscal responsibility for general fund operations and accountability to the local taxpayer.
In 2007, Fargo Public Schools collected $62 million (267.57 mills) in local property tax, compared to $44 million today (127 mills). That is a reduction of 140.57 mills and $18 million less in property tax collected between 2007 and 2017.