Property tax likely BG move PDF Print E-mail
Written by MARIE THOMAS BAIRD | Sentinel Education Editor   
Saturday, 08 December 2012 09:35
Bowling Green's Board of Education again has been presented with the earning potentials for various property tax levy options, and will decide later this month which to select.
The district, with the loss Nov. 6 of its 0.75 percent income tax request, will soon be feeling the pinch for more funding.
Essentially, it's too late to try again for an income tax, according to district Treasurer Rhonda Melchi. She reminded the board that none of the three options she had presented in November - a 0.25 percent, 0.50 percent and 0.75 percent - would keep the district out of the red for fiscal year 2015. That's entirely because of the time it would take to collect the full amount. With a May ballot, there would be no collection until April 2014, 70 percent in fiscal year 2015, and full collection in FY 2016.
"A property tax would be a lot more favorable," Melchi stated.
At the November board meeting, she presented options from 3 mills to 6.5 mills, at half-mill increments, and the subsequent amount each would raise.
On Friday, she added a 6.75-mill option, and was asked by board President Eric Myers to add a 7-mill to the options presented at this month's regular meeting on Dec. 18.
While a 6.5-mill request would cost the owner of a $150,000 home an additional $298.59 a year, 6.75 mills would add $310.08.
"For $11 to a homeowner, it's probably worth considering," Melchi said about the 6.75-mill option.
Melchi said she uses a $150,000 home for her calculations "because in this community, a $100,000 home is not the norm."
Sam Melendez, who was one of two residents to attend the meeting, pointed out that even a 6.75-mill request would cost less than $1 a day.
Of the options presented, a 6.5-mill issue would keep the district in the black until June 2015, then, based on Melchi's calculations, the district would be in the red at $46,996 in June 2016 and $2,621,316 in the hole June 2017.
A 6.75-mill property tax would put the district in the good to the tune of $1,197,470 in June 2015, but it would slide back into a deficit the next year.
A 6.5-mill tax would collect $3,799,836, and 6.75 mills would bring in $3,945,984.
"It's tough to project five years into the future," said Superintendent Ann McVey.
She pointed out the district has lowered its personnel expenditures from 82 percent in 2009 to just under 79 percent. "We've really seen the (financial) benefits" of having a smaller payroll, she said.
Melchi said 78.7 percent of the budget goes to wages and benefits, 11.8 percent to purchase services, 4.3 percent to supplies, including fuel, 0.7 percent to equipment, and 4.5 percent to other expenses.
Board member Paul Walker asked about the length of the potential levy.
Melchi told him it was up to the board to decide.
If it was a continuous levy, the amount of money paid by a homeowner would never go up, even if the value of the home increased, said board Vice-President Ellen Scholl.
That's basically true, responded Melchi.
And with a continuous levy, the district wouldn't have to go back to the ballot to renew the issue, Scholl pointed out.
"People say we're always on the ballot, but it's not always for new money," said Walker.
Melchi did note that the district does have three tax issues up for renewal in coming years. The district's 4.2-mill property tax expires in December 2015 as does a $1 million emergency levy. The district's 0.50 income tax expires at the end of 2017.
"We have to attempt to renew all of them," said Scholl.
Walker noted, "I think we can all agree, there is a necessity of need."
The board has until early February to get its issue on the ballot. Members are expected to make a decision at their meeting later this month.

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