Harrisburg voters to decide on school district tax increase

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HARRISBURG - Voters in Harrisburg will choose whether to increase the school district's operating tax levy at the city's election on Nov. 3.

The ballot says the 67-cent increase would bring the adjusted operating levy to $4.0617 per 100 dollars of assessed value. According to Harrisburg Superintendent Lynn Proctor, that number would actually be $4.081 per 100 dollars if passed. 

Collin McBride is a on the school board in Harrisburg, and he said the total changed slightly because the ballot was due before the school district decided on a tax rate ceiling in August. 

"That ceiling changes every year, it's something that has to be done annually," McBride said. "It fluctuates either direction, and we made our estimation based on the guidance from the state auditor."

David Comegys lives in Harrisburg and said he supports the tax increase, and any change in the total tax is worth it.

"I believe that everyone's children should be allowed to get the education that these schools offer, and that doesn't happen without funding," Comegys said. 

Comegys also said he believes voters should be informed about any changes on the ballot. McBride said the district has taken steps to do that.

"We did state in the ballot language that it was estimated, as well as in the documents that we've produced," McBride said. "We've held different meetings and opened those to the public so people can come and be more educated and be aware of that tax difference."

McBride also said the ballot language cannot be changed after the ballot deadline, and the change from the estimation to the total tax is something that can happen every year depending on that deadline.

"It's really driven within the timing of the elections, and I don't think that's something within our power to change," McBride said. "We certainly want to be as accurate with our information as possible, and that's why we said it was an estimated total, but the timing is up to the county clerk and the state."

McBride and Comegys both said they felt optimistic that voters would choose to increase the tax.