BG task force suggests 30-year, combined tax


The decision among members of Bowling Green’s financial task force is to recommend proceeding to the
ballot with an estimated $40 million facility project.
Thirty-four members of the task force voted Tuesday, with 29 approving that price tag.
Also approved was going with a term of 30 years rather than 37 (20-9) and using a combined ballot (25-4).

That issue, which should include both a property tax and an income tax to fund the project, was
recommended for the November ballot, with 19 votes. Waiting for the March 2020 election earned six votes
and November 2020 got four.
Three representatives from the task force will present these findings at the next school board meeting on
The board is holding a special meeting Saturday to discuss levy options and facilities plans. That
meeting starts at 9 a.m. at the Administrative Offices and no action will be taken.
Task force member Grant Chamberlain voted “no” on proceeding with the project.
“We have not found any way to drop this price,” he said while the votes were being tabulated. “They need
to find a different route.”
That route should include fixing mechanical systems on a priority basis.
“The price tag is too high,” Chamberlain said, adding that the district has other pressing levies to
Three levies will expire within the next three years unless renewed by voters.
Ben Otley favored the results of the vote.
“It appears a lot of us spent time outside the group to study the issues and ultimately we came up with
much better consensus than I thought we would,” he said. The consensus “is very close to how I voted
David Conley, with Rockmill Financial Consulting, led this final task force meeting, held at Crim
Elementary. He had shared via email the calculator he uses to figure the costs for property owners,
millage and income tax rates, and went over numbers again Tuesday.
He is using $161,300 as the average home value and $66,215 as the average income.
Options included:
• $40 million paid entirely with a property tax. Thirty-seven years would cost the average homeowner
$177.07 annually at 3.14 mills or $14.76 per month. Thirty years would cost $198.30 annually at 3.51
mills, or $16.52 per month.
• $40 million paid entirely through a 0.50 percent traditional income tax for 30 years. The annual cost
would be $331.08 for the average income, or $27.59 monthly. That plan would raise $760,000 more annually
than is needed to make a bond payment, and the extra revenue can go to maintenance or shortening the
life of the bond. Paying this way over 20 years also would be enough to cover the annual payments.
“The reality is, the half percent for 20 years covers it, and you still got money left over,” said
Richard Strow, and the monthly payment remains $331.08. The amount left over amounts to $302,800
That plan would eliminate revenues from the business base, which would not pay the tax, and be more
attractive to businesses wanting to move into the county, it was suggested.
• Split the issue into $20 million paid with property tax and $20 million paid with a traditional income
tax. For 30 years, that would cost $264.69 annually, $22.06 monthly be 1.76 mills and include a 0.25
percent income tax. For 37 years, the average homeowner would pay $254.07 annually, $21.17 monthly, be
at 1.57 mills, and include a 0.25 percent income tax. For 20 years, it would cost $292.73 annually,
$24.39 monthly, be at 2.25 mills, and collect a 0.25 percent income tax.
Sixteen people favored the 50-50 split between property tax and income tax.
• Split the issue into $20 million paid with property tax, $20 million paid with an earned income tax for
37 years. The tax would be 0.50 percent, and the annual cost to a property owner would be $585.15 or
$48.76 monthly.
• Split the issue into $16 million paid with a property tax and $24 million paid with a traditional
income tax for 30 years. That would lower the annually payments to $244.86 annually, $20.40 monthly, be
at 1.40 mills, and include a 0.25 percent income tax. It would eliminate the collection of extra revenue
for maintenance or capital improvements.
Barb Belleville wanted to know how much would be saved in interest by going with 30 years rather than 37
years for any option.
That amounts to $7.4 million in interest, Conley said.
The pro side of the lower term is those at the low end of the property value scale will pay less per
month, he explained.
One question, whether they would recommend the board use any additional funds for maintenance of the new
facilities, was approved 25-4.
Sonja Chamberlain wanted to know if the school board will understand that concept, and not use the extra
for upgrades on the project.
Conley said the ballot can be worded that way, plus the board could pass a resolution statement for that
Former board member Ellen Dalton expressed concern that splitting the issue would get a “no” vote from
people who don’t like an income tax or property tax.
“That’s a very likely outcome,” Conley said.
What needs to be asked is “is this a responsible price to hit people with,” he added.
Ken Rieman pointed out the monthly breakdown for any of the options is less than what he pays for his
cell phone.
Dalton praised the process. She volunteered for the task force because she thought she would learn a lot.

“It was very well conducted, everyone was listened to and I was really pleased there was such good
consensus,” she said, adding that she agreed with the survey results.
Dalton voted for a combined tax with $24 million being paid in income tax and $16 million being paid in
property tax, but she admitted there would be none left over for maintenance or capital improvements.

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