February 13, 2016

USD 231 official says Local Option Budget to decrease

In response to a written request from The Gardner News regarding USD 231’s proposed budget, Leann Northway, communications director, issued the following response. The e-mail response appears below:

The special assessment levy is not a new tax for USD 231 taxpayers. 
During the 2011-12 school year the special assessment tax was .457 and provided funding for the Madison Benefit District (2002) and Pioneer Ridge Benefit District (2010).  The special assessment pays for public improvements for new facilities (streets, sewers, etc.)  This assessment will be increased this year from .457 to 2.005 to fund the infrastructure needs at the new elementary/middle school campus.  The estimated cost for this levy on a $150,000 home is $34.59 annually. It is an increase of $26.71 a year. As you are aware, the cost of these improvements is split 50/50 with the City of Gardner. 
The districts LOB mill levy will drop by 3 mills and the district’s overall mill levy is unchanged for 2012-2013 and remains at 82.595 mills.  In summary, the special assessment tax increased and our LOB tax decreased so our patrons will not experience a tax increase for the upcoming year.
Thank you,

Leann (Northway)


  1. Judith Rogers says:

    Don’t ya just love it??????????? So why did the city of Gardner stick just the citizens of Gardner with the increased costs??? The jaybirds work hand in hand to screw with the people and will continue to do so if the people let them. ALL of these costs should have been shared with ALL of the USD 231 School Dist. patrons just like the costs of the schools will be. Call it an assessment, call it a tax increase or whatever but YOU the taxpayer will be picking up the tab for your sports education one way or the other and the cost is going to be HIGH and in more ways than just this one assessment. Conniving and manipulation and propaganda are the names of the games and you should be well aware of how it is done by your city and your school district – they have all attended the same school of non-transparency and back room deals and stonewalling, etc. The air has been polluted for years now and will certainly not be improving in the future because the people are not doing their jobs and are enabling and supporting these types of government. Far and long between when a worthless politican and/or bureaucrat is held accountable. The people are left with costly messes to clean up due to their own actions and/or inaction and voting decisions. When all of the candidates are making back room deals even before they are elected or re-elected, should be a clue to you what they will be doing if elected to office. They sure as hell won’t be working for the average citizen in my opinion.

  2. Incredible accounting. Taxes on my house are increasing almost $30 for the school but this woman says I should see no increase. What math are they teaching at USD 231. If I have to spend $26.71 more, that’s an increase no matter what I tell my checking account. And since the bill is being split between the city and school I guess I’ll be spending $60 more in taxes. How is that not an increase? I got a bridge in Brooklyn I’d like to sell Northway.

  3. Judith Rogers says:

    Well, Senior, you need to be like Simmons First National Bank out of Arkansas who owns property here in Gardner and get your appraised value reduced from over $300,000 to just $70 by saying you are entitled to a “farm” appraisal even though you aren’t farming the land. That really helps with the tax bill but sure puts the hammer on you, the average, honest citizen. That is what your representatives, senators and other slimy politicians are doing for you PLUS MORE – taking care of the big boys and sticking the knife into your back. Do you think there is a candidate out there worth your vote today????

  4. Jerry L Kellogg Sr says:

    Ms. Northway is the USD 231 Director of Community Relations. She is not a mathematician or financial officer; she does not prepare the budget or establish fiscal policies. Her duty is to communicate information provided by the school board and administration officials in response to requests from the public and the media. Not all of us agree with everything USD 231 does. But in fairness to Ms. Northway, please do not shoot the messenger.

    As was stated in her response to The Gardner News, the net total mill levy for 2012-2013 will not increase. It will remain the same as 2011-2012, with a total rate of 82.595 mills.

    As I understand it, what will change within the 2012-2013 district budget will be mill rate reallocations between three funds.

    2011-2012 Mill Rates:
    0.000 Special Liability Expense Fund
    21.799 Local Option Budget (LOB)
    0.457 Special Assessment
    22.256 SUBTOTAL 2012 MILL RATES

    2012-2013 Mill Rates:
    1.486 Special Liability Expense Fund = 1.486 increase
    18.765 Local Option Budget (LOB) = 3.034 decrease
    2.005 Special Assessment = 1.548 increase
    22.256 SUBTOTAL 2013 MILL RATES = no net change from last year

  5. Judith Rogers says:

    Then if we had not got the increase on the special assessment mill levy and the Special Liability Expense Fund mill levy, we could have seen a DECREASE in our total school mill levy or would the connivers and manipulators done something else????? The ole slight of hand is used extensively……………..move that damn money however they well please to make themselves look good but the day of reckoning will come and the truth will prevail……….and the consequences will follow much like we saw in the financial meltdown of 2008 and which is still killing the middle class……much like it cost citzens a good $4 MILLION because our school district’s bond rating was reduced since our savings account was cleaned out……….that is my opinion.

  6. I don’t want to shoot Northway, I am fully aware she’s a paid employee of the district, and probably well paid at that. Does she even have kids in this district? Doubtful. But I understand she’s doing her job. I also understand I will be at least $30 broker this year, probably closer to $100. So it doesn’t matter how you sugar coat it, I am paying more, no matter how they figure the total tax I pay. Let me put it this way, doesn’t matter if I pay from my left hand, right hand, or have to pull the money out of my change purse, I’m still out the money.
    Perhaps the district would like to donate my heart medication, because my pharmacist doesn’t figure money like USD 231 does; they use regular math; not fictitious shell games.

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