Written by PETER KUEBECK Sentinel Staff Writer
Friday, 13 July 2012 10:48
PERRYSBURG — The district is considering a series of options for an emergency levy to be put on the ballot in the fall.
A slate of possibilities was put before the district Finance Committee at its monthly meeting this morning.
“We’re on a shoestring budget,” said Treasurer and CFO Matt Feasel, who noted that none of the options would truly put the district on firm financial footing.
An incremental operating levy, voted into place in 2008, expires in December. The levy currently stands at 9.95 mills, generating just over $7.5 million each year.
Failure to renew the levy would mean a loss of that money and, even if another levy was voted in the next November, would create a deficit of nearly $12 million by 2016.
“We’re not talking cuts, reductions,” said Feasel of that scenario. “We’re talking elimination of programs.”
“We’d really have to be doing some drastic measures.”
Renewing the current levy — collecting 10.72 mills or $8.1 million each year and increasing the amount by just under $600,000 each year — would create a $2.2 million negative balance in 2013, increasing to $7.8 million in 2016.
A middle-of-the-road possibility would have the district asking for $10 million — or 13.14 mills — in 2013, and increasing the revenues collected by $1 million each year. This would leave the district with a budget deficit of just under $77,000 by 2016, which could be absorbed by budget carryover funds, leaving a positive balance.
A second option, which collected the same amount initially, but then asked for slightly less in succeeding years, would have a similar effect, though the deficit to be absorbed would be nearly three times as much.
A third, somewhat more aggressive option, would collect $10 million in 2013, and then increase by 1.58 mills in succeeding years, raising $1.2 million each of the final three years of the levy’s lifetime. This would ensure a positive budget and a carryover of $1.5 million, or a little more than is required to cover a monthly pay period.
“There’s a lot more work that needs to be done,” said Feasel. “Even if one of these options was approved we still need to keep an eye on things.”
Superintendent Tom Hosler noted that the incremental levy type still puts the district on a budgetary flatline due to the necessity of keeping up with the decreasing funding coming from the state. He asked the committee members to consider the options in the next week.
The school board is expected to make a levy recommendation at its July 23 meeting. The Wood County Board of Elections needs to have a resolution asking for a levy to be put on the ballot by Aug. 8.