PERRYSBURG — The school board has taken the first step toward putting a renewal of the 5-year 1.9 mill permanent improvement levy on the Nov. 3 ballot.
The renewal means that the levy is not a new tax, but taxes collected could be lower.
The board voted to go ahead with a resolution of necessity at the June 2 meeting. The resolution requests that the county auditor certify to the board the total current tax valuation of the school district and the dollar amount of revenue that would be generated by the renewal tax levy.
It would generate $1.64 million for the school district. For the homeowner with a $200,000 house the levy would collect $101.88 per year.
School district property taxes are tied to the total property value of the district and collections are for a specific dollar amount. As the total dollar value of the district grows, the collection per household goes down.
“The most confusing part about the ballot is it is a renewal levy of 1.9 mills which is collected currently at the effective rate of 1.66 mills, for residential and agricultural taxpayers,” said Wood County Auditor Matt Oestreich.
If it were a replacement levy the dollars collected would be re-figured at the current 1.9 mill, not the current renewal of the effective rate of collection of 1.66 mills, because of the total value of property in the district has increased.
“Next decision for the board is, do we proceed in putting it on the ballot? That is the purpose of the resolution of necessity,” said Superintendent Tom Hosler.
Aug. 5 is the deadline for the board to decide to put the levy on the November ballot.
Attorney Rebecca Princehorn attended the meeting to discuss the mechanics of the permanent improvement levy.
Princehorn also explained the attached 12.5% rollback paid by the state as a qualified renewal levy, if the levy to be renewed was in place as of Sept. 29, 2013. The district could use more money, because of the recent pandemic related state cuts to current year district funding of almost $1 million. That qualified levy rollback only applies to renewals. Each homeowner with that $200,000 house would save $14.56 per year because it is a qualified levy, according to Oestreich.
The state requires that $942,000 be spent on the physical property owned by the district, which is what the permanent improvement levy be spent on. If the levy were replaced, the rollback would be lost and could not be regained. If the levy does not pass, that required amount of money would still need to be spent on permanent improvements, but it would be reappropriated the general fund, which would result in cuts from somewhere else in the budget.
“A replacement is a tax increase. You had that in 2010,” Princehorn said.
Board member Kelly Ewbank had more questions.
“So it doesn’t matter if it passes or fails, it’s still there? So it’s really irrelevant?” Ewbank asked.
Board member Eric Benington said that the district needs to maintain its buildings and the permanent improvement levy is a good way to set aside that funding.
“We still have the expense. We still have the need to pay out a million dollars. The question is where is that money going to come from. Right now it comes from a PI levy,” Benington said. “The question for me isn’t, ‘Are these expenses going to go away, just because it doesn’t get funded?’ That is not true. What goes away is the revenue to fund these necessary expenses.”
“I think that the point we are missing here is that we have to spend that money,” said Pam Harrington, fiscal officer. “If we want to continue receiving state funding, one of the requirements is a capital set-aside.”
The board voted 4-1 to approve the resolution. Ewbank voted against the resolution.