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The School District of Wisconsin Dells would stay in the lowest mill-rate rankings for school districts in the State of Wisconsin — even with a proposed tax increase to finance a new high school — said Lisa Voisin, managing director at Baird, at a special Wisconsin Dells School Board meeting on June 11 at the Media Center in the Wisconsin Dells High School.

Mill Rate is the total levy, or imposed tax, divided by the total property value per thousand in the district, Voisin said.

For example, the 2017-2018 mill rate for the School District of Wisconsin Dells was $16,903,402 divided by $2,252,363,033 multiplied by 1,000, which is equal to $7.50 or $750 on a $100,000 home in the Dells school district, Voisin said.

For comparison, the mill rate of other nearby school districts is, on average, $2 more, Voisin said. For example, Portage Community’s mill rate is $9.24; Baraboo’s is $9.25; Reedsburg’s is $9.31; Sauk-Prairie’s is $9.53 and Mauston’s is $10.49.

The maximum annual mill-rate impact is $0.86, or $86.00 on a $100,000 property, Voisin said . This would total a monthly impact of $7.17. On a $200,000 property, the annual impact would total $172, or $14.33 monthly.

The tax increase wouldn’t start until the opening of the proposed new high school in the fall of 2020; however, the tax increase would be indefinite.

Referendums

The school board has two possible referendums, regarding the proposed high school, for the 2018 Election Day ballot. Election Day is November 6.

The first possible referendum reads: “Shall the School District of Wisconsin Dells, Sauk, Adams, Columbia, Juneau and Marquette Counties, Wisconsin be authorized to issue pursuant to Chapter 67 of the Wisconsin Statues, general obligation bonds in an amount not to exceed $33,685,000 for the public purpose of paying the cost of constructing and equipping a new high school and related site improvement?”

The second referendum reads: “Shall the School District of Wisconsin Dells, Sauk, Adams, Columbia, Juneau and Marquette Counties, Wisconsin be authorized to exceed the revenue limit specified in Section 121.91, Wisconsin Statues, by $______ for the 2020-2021 school year and thereafter, for recurring purposes consisting of operational expenses for the new high school?”

The final amount has not been finalized yet.

Total Cost

The total amount of $33,685,000 is an estimated cost of the proposed project. This amount takes into account a potential $2 million commitment from the City of Wisconsin Dells. If the city approves the $2 million, a total of $27.2 million for the cost of the proposed new high school would be mitigated as follows: 80 acres, totaling $3.2 million, donated by Todd and Shari Nelson, Lake Delton PRT $21.5 million, a donation from Sally Olson of $500,000 and the possible $2 million from the City of Wisconsin Dells.