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Published: Thursday, 11/13/2003

More money requests expected after defeat

BY JANE SCHMUCKER
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Evergreen school board is expected to mull a levy request for the March ballot when it meets Monday and Swanton school board is certain to ask voters for more money next year as well.

Both schools saw income tax requests defeated in close votes last week. If they ask for levies March 2, their issues are likely to be the biggest money requests on the primary ballot.

Administrators in both districts have said that levies that are larger than those that failed last week would be needed to avoid cutting more programs. That s because a levy that would pass in March would not start collections for a year after levies that passed in November. So during that extra year, the school districts must either make more cuts or fall further behind financially.

Three new Swanton operating levies were defeated this year and Evergreen lost two bids for more operating money.

Evergreen Superintendent Kenneth Jones said the school board might ask for a 0.75 percent income tax in March. Last week Evergreen asked voters for a 0.5 percent, three-year income tax for operating expenses that was defeated 1,342-1,399.

In addition to a levy request, Evergreen school board is expected Monday to mull how it might cut $600,000 from next school year s budget. Six to eight teachers, a similar number of aides, and an elementary principal might lose their jobs, he said. Decisions are expected from the board this month or next, he said.

The filing deadline for issues on the primary ballot is Dec. 18.

Archbold Community Library s board is one of the only boards to take formal steps toward putting a levy on the March ballot. It agreed last month to ask for a 0.4-mill, 5-year replacement operating levy. If it passes, the levy would collect $97,100 a year, up from $78,600 now.

The replacement levy would cost the owner of a $100,000, owner-occupied home $12.25 a year, up from $8.07 a year now.

With the replacement levy, total taxes on such a home in the Fulton County section of the library district would range from $1,397 a year in Archbold to $1,320 elsewhere in German Township. The library district, which is the same as Archbold school district, stretches into Henry County.

Swanton Village Council is also expected to ask for a replacement, which unlike a renewal raises taxes, for its 1.5-mill, five year fire levy. Council is expected on Nov. 24 to consider asking voters to replace that levy and to renew a 0.5-mill, five-year recreation levy.

The levy requests likely will be decided as emergencies, rather than holding three readings, councilman Bill Belinger said. Both the park and fire issues were mentioned, but not extensively discussed at this week s council meeting.

The Swanton village and Archbold library issues are among 13 tax levies that expire in collection year 2004. If officials want to renew or replace them, they could ask voters to do so in March, August, or November.

The other expiring levies are:

w Swanton school district: 4.67 mill, 3-year operating levy.

w Wauseon school district: 1-mill, 5-year permanent improvement levy.

w Amboy Township and Metamora: 1-mill, 5-year cemetery levy and 1-mill, five-year fire equipment levy.

w Dover Township: 1-mill, five-year fire levy.

w German Township including the village of Archbold: 1-mill, five-year road improvement levy.

w Gorham Township including the village of Fayette: 0.4 mill, five-year cemetery levy.

w Gorham Township, not including Fayette: 1-mill, five-year road improvement levy.

w Swancreek Towsnhip, not including Swanton: 1.25-mill, five-year fire levy.

w York Township, including Delta: 0.5-mill, five-year fire equipment levy.



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