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Pequot Lakes: School board approves final levy

The Pequot Lakes School Board stayed with its preliminary tax levy set in September, approving a final 2018 tax levy with a local option revenue of $724 per pupil - an increase of $99 per pupil - at the board's Monday, Dec. 18, meeting.

In 2018, the district will operate with a total general fund of $2,531,656 and a total tax levy of $5,674,932.

Prior to the regular meeting, business manager Heidi Hagen presented during the annual truth in taxation meeting. According to Hagen, the approved option will cost taxpayers an additional $26 per year on residential property valued at $150,000 and $27 per year on commercial property at the same value. There is no change in taxes to agricultural property at that value.

"We are one of 17 (districts) left in the state of Minnesota that have not increased their local option," Hagen said. "The majority of districts - 90 districts - do have a $724 operating local option revenue."

Hagen also said the average local option revenue per district is $1,159.

In other action, the board:

• Unanimously accepted the results of the district's fiscal year 2017 audit, presented by Caroline Stutsman of BerganKDV of St. Cloud. Results of the audit showed a lack of segregation of duties, preparation of financial statements and a cash reconciliation process as weaknesses and deficiencies within the district, but Stutsman informed the board these issues were "not uncommon" within districts of a similar size to Pequot Lakes.

• Approved an agreement between the district and Service Employees International Union, local 284 non-certified employees. The agreement is effective from July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2020.

• Approved four donations to the district.

Board chair Mike Erholtz was not in attendance.

The board's next regular meeting, which will also be its annual reorganizational meeting, will take place on Monday, Jan. 8.

Dan Determan

Staff Writer for the Pineandlakes Echo Journal weekly newspaper.