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DL Schools to hike levy 8.7 percent

With the preliminary property tax levy for most school districts in Minnesota expected to increase by an average of 12 percent, the 8.7 percent hike approved by the Detroit Lakes School Board on Tuesday didn't seem like such a bitter pill to swallow as it might have been.

"The good news is we'll have an increase that's under double digits -- that's a positive," said Richard Lundeen, the district's business manager.

And the good news didn't stop there. Lundeen reported that the district's property tax base grew to the tune of a market value increase of just under 10 percent.

The increase in adjusted net tax capacity for Detroit Lakes was also up, by 10.1 percent.

What this means, Lundeen noted, is that development is on the rise in Detroit Lakes.

"With more development in our community, the taxes are spread over a bigger base, which will soften the increase (for individual property owners)" Lundeen said.

Lundeen also noted that there is the possibility of reducing the preliminary levy, which the board set at the maximum allowable amount of $3,175,151, when the final levy figure is certified in December.

The reason why most districts choose to set the maximum proposed levy allowed by the state, he explained, is that once the preliminary levy is set, the final levy cannot exceed that amount -- although it can be reduced.

After setting the preliminary levy, the board members bid a fond goodbye to Lundeen, whose retirement becomes official at the end of the month. His successor, Ted Heisserer, was also present at Tuesday's meeting.

Lundeen's retirement celebration is set for Sept. 29 in the Detroit Lakes High School commons, from 3:30-6 p.m. The public is invited to attend.

The next regular meeting of the Detroit Lakes School Board is set for 6:30 p.m. Oct. 9.

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 16 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Lake Park-Audubon School Board. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.

(218) 844-1454