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home : news : news Tuesday, May 31, 2016

1/12/2013 Email this articlePrint this article 
Renewal of Central school district PPEL levy set for April vote

By Jeremy Huss
Staff writer

An election will be held April 2 asking voters in the Central Community School District to renew for 10 years the district's 67-cent physical plant and equipment levy (PPEL).

The Central school board approved a resolution of election at its regular monthly meeting Jan. 9 that directs the county commissioner of elections (county auditor) to place the question of PPEL renewal on the April 2 ballot.

The voter-approved levy has been in place since 1964 at varying rates allowed at that time. Since the 1993/94 school year, the district has had in place a 67-cent voted PPEL and a 33-cent board-authorized PPEL.

The levy currently is set to expire June 30, 2014.

Since 2009, the levy has generated $400,000-$450,000 per year for the district.

Under state law, revenue generated by the levy can be used for facility construction, maintenance and improvement, property purchase or rental, technology, debt payments, library facilities, energy conservation measures, transportation equipment and recreational purposes.

PPEL funds cannot be used for staff salaries or supplies. Those expenditures must be paid for using the school district's general fund.

Historically, Central has used PPEL revenues primarily for facility maintenance, business manager Cindy McAleer said.

A summary of PPEL expenditures over the last six years shows the money also has been used for projects such as demolition of the old Welton school, a land purchase, athletic complex renovations, transportation vehicle purchases and renovation of the administration center.

Approximately $1 million in PPEL funds were used last year on technology purchases to equip Central for a one-to-one computer program.

Superintendent Dan Peterson said Central has plenty of uses for money generated by the levy despite having completed a major facility project last year.

He pointed out the core of the high school and elementary buildings each are 50 years old, and the middle school building is more than 20 years old.

Peterson said current infrastructure concerns include increased electrical requirements, improvements to safety systems such as intercoms, video surveillance and alarms, and facility improvements such as roof replacements, boiler repairs, air conditioning and facility upkeep.

Peterson noted PPEL funds have been used for many of the same purposes as revenue from the local-option sales tax (LOST), with both funds paying for construction projects, transportation, building maintenance and technology, depending on where funds were available.

Voters can determine the annual property tax impact of renewing the PPEL by dividing the taxable value of their home by 1,000 and multiplying the result by 67-cents.

For example, a home with an assessed value of $100,000 has a taxable value of $52,817 and would pay property taxes of $35.39 per year under the levy.

State law allows school boards to authorize a 33-cent PPEL on their own and to seek voter approval for an additional levy of up to $1.34 per $1,000 property valuation. The proposal on the April 2 ballot will seek only to maintain the current voter-approved levy of 67 cents.

PPEL is included in the district's overall tax rate, currently set at $15.38 per $1,000 property valuation.

Peterson noted the tax rate increased in the 2010/11 school year as a result of the bond issue voters approved for the gym, auditorium and intermediate school addition.

The ballot question for renewal of the PPEL will read:

"Shall the board of directors of the Central Clinton Community School District in the county of Clinton, state of Iowa, be authorized for a period of 10 years to levy annually, as determined by the board, a voter-approved physical plant and equipment property tax not to exceed 67 cents per $1,000 of the assessed valuation of the taxable property within the school district, commencing with the levy for collection in the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2014, to be used for the purposes permitted by Iowa law?"

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