The Gorham Fayette school district is asking for approval of the levy to raise money to pay current operating expenses.
It is the first time since 1991 that voters have been asked for additional operating money. That year, they passed a 1 percent income tax.
In the last 21 years, the district has gone to voters only three times for operating money, and each request was approved. In 1985, a 7-mill continuing operating levy was approved, and in 1980, voters passed a 4-mill continuing operating levy.
“It's a real supportive community here, once we explain the need,” Superintendent Susan Miko said. “We know seven mills seems gargantuan, but seven mills will only bring in $33,875 per mill here, less than any other Fulton County district.''
In comparison, 1 mill in Archbold brings in $207,000, the Evergreen district gets $133,000 for each mill, Wauseon gets $174,000, Swanton gets $176,000, and Pike-Delta-York gets $130,000, Mrs. Miko said.
“The reason we get less money per mill is that the tax is based on property values. Housing here is very affordable, but it's not high-end housing that would bring in a lot of dollars per assessed value,'' she said.
A campaign has just begun to inform voters of the need for the funding, she said. Many residents received an information sheet last week that answered the usual questions.
If the levy passes, a resident will pay $214.38 annually for a property valued at $100,000.
It will bring in $237,000 in its first year and is needed to meet increased expenses, Mrs. Miko said. She cited fuel costs that have increased by 33 percent and insurance fees up by more than 10 percent.
Money from a bond issue passed five years ago can be used only to pay for an addition to the school, not for operating expenses.
“Our district cannot continue to operate effectively with our current revenues and will be faced with deficit spending” if the levy fails, Mrs. Miko noted in a flyer.
The superintendent said cuts have been made and the district operates on a “very lean budget.”
“We've been able to work through expenses without increasing millage on taxes,” he said.
Swanton voters passed a bond levy last year, but that money can only be used for construction of a high school and building projects at Park and Crestwood schools.