BONDURANT, Iowa — The Bondurant-Farrar School District is currently facing about a $900,000 funding shortfall due to a property tax error they say is out of their control.
Bryon Tack, with the Polk County Assessor’s Office, said the funding shortfall came about because a couple of Facebook’s buildings in Altoona, that are in the boundaries of the Bondurant-Farrar School District, were supposed to be exempt from property taxes, but were not listed as exempt in the 2018 assessment.
“Buildings 5 and 6 were being constructed in 2017 and we assessed them for the first time in 2018 they fell outside of that original agreement so we did not apply the property tax exemption,” Tack said.
The district used that assessment to make their budget and now that the assessment has been adjusted they’re losing out on almost a million dollars for the 2020 fiscal year.
“When that taxable value was reduced by $47 million because of the correction that caused the loss in revenue for the school based on the budget and the levy rate that had already been set,” Tack said.
The Bondurant-Farrar School District Superintendent Rich Powers said their business manager questioned the 2018 assessment numbers not long after they received them and had they been informed about the adjustment sooner they wouldn’t have had this problem.
“It appears several entities knew in March that there was a problem. Had we known in March, we wouldn’t have this issue at all. We could have adjusted our budget. We could have adjusted our tax rate and we wouldn’t have suffered the loss,” Powers said.
Powers said they reached out to local elected officials and are looking into several options to fix the problem.
“But essentially I think it’s going to be a combination of things: it could be certainly reducing some spending, it could be dipping into some reserves that we had allocated for other projects, most notably facility projects that we need, and I also think we will look closely at recouping this,” Powers said.
Powers said they haven’t received any of this money yet so they do not have the issue of paying it back.