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Published: Wednesday, 2/8/2006

Schools will seek bond, levy in May

WEST UNITY, Ohio - The Millcreek-West Unity Local School District's third request for a bond issue and levy to build a new school will be on the May ballot.

The school board voted unanimously Monday to file a 10.4-mill, 28-year bond issue and a 0.5-mill, 23-year maintenance levy requests with the Williams County Board of Elections.

The board is negotiating with owners of three sites for a 50-acre building lot for its proposed school that would replace its current Hilltop Elementary and High School in West Unity, board Vice President Roger Detwiler said.

But it does not have signed purchase options with any property owners and is still looking, he added.

One site under consideration is north, one is west, and one is northwest of West Unity. All are now farmland. The board wants land close enough to the village that the property could be annexed, Mr. Detwiler said.

Part of the cost of building a new school, which is estimated at more than $21 million, not including interest payments, would come from the Ohio School Facilities Commission, under the district's plan.

Interest payments are estimated at an additional $6.4 million because the district would start building immediately and taxpayers would pay the building off over 28 years.

The bond issue would raise more than $15.1 million over its 28 years, and the maintenance levy would raise almost $600,000 over its 23 years. The bond issue would cost the owner of a $100,000, owner-occupied home $319 a year, and the maintenance levy would cost $15 a year, for a total tax increase of $334 a year.

Voters in this small, eastern Williams County district denied requests in May and August for significantly smaller bond issues.

Mr. Detwiler said the board was disappointed that its request is higher this time because of cost and state aid changes.

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