Otsego moves forward with income tax


TONTOGANY – Otsego Local Schools has taken the last step to put a tax issue on the May ballot.
At Thursday’s board of education meeting, members unanimously approved submitting to voters a
0.75-percent income tax request.
Certification has been received from the Department of Taxation, said Superintendent Adam Koch, and now
this resolution will be delivered to the three counties served by Otsego: Wood, Henry and Lucas.
“We will officially be on the ballot May 7,” he said.
The board had until Feb. 6 to finish the paperwork to put it on the May ballot.
Board President Brad Anderson wanted clarification that the levy would be for five years.
The tax is expected to collect $2.2 million annually to cover general expenses.
“We think now is the time to ask for additional funding sources from our community to maintain the level
of academics we have here,” Koch said at a special meeting earlier this month.
The five-year levy would start Jan. 1, 2020, if passed.
The district already is collecting a 1-percent income tax, which passed in 2002.
The district hasn’t asked its residents for an operating issue since May 2002.
Since that time, the district chose not to renew a 12-mill emergency levy and a 1.6-mill operating levy.

When Koch joined Otsego in 2010 as treasurer, the goal was to have the district live within its means.

“Since 2002, not having a levy, I think we have done a really good job at that, of living within our
means and producing a product this community deserves.”
The district operated on a $15.5 million budget last year and overspent revenues by around $260,000 – the
first time it has done so since 2009.
Even with nearly $4.5 million in its cash balance, as the district continues to deficit spend, and that
money will be depleted in 2021-22.
Koch has said going to voters now is being proactive.
Also at the meeting, the board:
• Accepted $8,498 in donations, including $5,000 from the Gorski Family Foundation for Otsego’s Capital
Campaign; $1,000 from Stephen Kendall for the Deb Kendall Scholarship, and $1,000 from Judith Hamburg
for the cheerleaders’ national competition trip.
• Set the 2019-20 school calendar, with the first day Aug. 21, winter break Dec. 23-Jan. 3, spring break
April 6-13 and the last day of school May 29; and the 2020-21 school calendar, with the first day Aug.
19, winter break Dec. 21-Jan. 4, spring break April 2-9, and the last day May 27.
• Did not accept the Weston Library’s nomination of Norma Roberts for the library board, but instead
named Sean Thiebaut of Grand Rapids to fill the seven-year term.

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