Bowling Green High School

The Bowling Green City Schools Board of Education took the last step necessary to place an income tax renewal on the ballot.

The board on Tuesday passed a resolution to proceed with the renewal and ask voters to approve it for a continuing term. The motion passed unanimously.

The 0.50% traditional income tax will appear on the Nov. 2 ballot.

Ballot language states, in part, that an annual income tax of 0.50% be imposed for a continuing period of time, beginning 2023, for the purposes of continuing expenses.

The tax expires in 2022. It collected around $3.76 million this fiscal year and $3.96 million in fiscal year 2020.

It has been on a five-year-renewal cycle since first being approved in November 1992.

Board President Norm Geer said that he supports the continuing option over asking voters to support it every five years, saying it has been approved for nearly 30 years.

“It’s important to remember this is no new taxes,” Geer said after the meeting. “This is the continuation of a five-year levy that has been renewed for a very long time.”

He pointed out it may be the lowest school income taxes in the county.

“Having it be done on a continuing basis will allow us to not budget for it expiring … and that will make budgeting in the future so much easier because we won’t have to provide for that uncertainty,” Geer said.

A continuing tax frees up money in the general fund that otherwise would need to be kept in reserve in the event of an economic downturn or the loss of a temporary levy, financial adviser David Conley, of Rockmill Financial, told the board at an April workshop.

“The main advantage of it is we don’t have to keep money in a fund to provide against the contingency of it not passing,” Geer said.

He said it does not make sense for people to say they want the option to vote on the tax every five years.

“We pass it every single time as a five-year renewal … and the nice thing about the income tax is in balances out our portfolio,” he said.

The community in April 2020 approved for a continuing time a 1.35-mill substitute tax which took the place of a $1 million emergency levy and a 4.2-mill property tax. Both had been on five-year renewal cycles.

Board member Ryan Myers asked how the new fair funding plan plays into the need for the income tax.

“I don’t know that it’s going to replace the amount that we receive from the school district income tax,” said Treasurer Cathy Schuller about the new funding plan, which has been signed by Gov. Mike DeWine as part of the new biennium budget bill.

When looking at the $3.9 million that was collected from the income tax last year, “it’s nowhere close to making that difference up,” she said. “There’s no question it’s not replacing the (income tax).”

The last time this income tax came before voters, in 2017, it was approved by 74.96%.