Eastwood revises levy plan PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sentinel-Tribune Staff   
Monday, 08 July 2013 10:30
PEMBERVILLE — After listening to voter concerns, the Eastwood Board of Education this morning changed its plans to renew its permanent improvement tax.
The board met to rescind the vote taken June 27 to place its 2.0-mill tax request for a continuing period on the November ballot, and instead passed a resolution today to ask voters to support it for five years.
“We heard from several community members that are very supportive that they had reservations regarding ‘forever’ levies. Since the levy expires (this year), we have no margin for error or controversy,” Superintendent Brent Welker wrote in a community-wide email Friday.
The levy will not increase taxes paid by residents. Residents have been paying on this tax for about 20 years, he said.
The board voted 5-0 this morning to make the change and will send the request to the Wood County Auditor’s Office for certification.
“I heard from maybe a dozen people through email and seeing people. Board members were talking to people, too,” Welker said this morning. The consensus was that people were more comfortable with this being a five-year levy rather than a continuing.”
In his email, Welker also addressed questions on why the district needed the $265,000 annual income from the permanent improvement tax when it will be receiving $675,000 each year from a tax abatement agreement with Home Depot.
The Home Depot money should be spent to deal with long term facility issues in the district, Welker wrote.
He indicated the board is considering a survey in order to determine where the community stands on a range of options. These options will all involve taking steps to improve, renovate, or replace existing facilities to a condition “worthy of Eastwood children” and in the financial best interests of the community.
With the Home Depot monies being earmarked for large ticket items, the district still has numerous smaller projects and maintenance issues that come up weekly. The district uses the permanent improvement funds to complete bus repairs, carpet replacement, parking lot repair, building maintenance, water and sewer compliance among many other things. These funds will also be needed to purchase new buses.
“These minor $1,000 to $10,000 projects plus bus purchases, which run between $80,000 and $90,000 each, add up fast, and you can go through $260,000 per year pretty quickly,” Welker stated, explaining why the district needs a dedicated fund for building and transportation maintenance.

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