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Published: Sunday, 11/2/2008

Anthony Wayne officials try new pitch on funding

BY MARK ZABORNEY
BLADE STAFF WRITER

After three failed levy attempts and $3 million in cut expenses, including 52 jobs, the Anthony Wayne Local Board of Education hopes voters find favor with a different approach an earned income tax.

It s really critical that this passes, said John Granger, superintendent of schools.

The earned income tax issue, while unconventional, is only one of the school tax issues voters in the suburban Toledo area will face Tuesday at the polls.

Of area districts on the ballot, though, Anthony Wayne in Lucas County and part of Fulton County is the only one on the state s fiscal caution list. Voters have OK d levy renewals but rejected attempts at new revenue, most recently a levy in August.

The board decided to try an option available to districts only in the last few years an earned income tax, in this case at a 0.5 percent rate for five years. It could raise $3.5 million a year, Treasurer Kerri Johnson said.

Retirement, pension, Social Security, and investment income and disability benefits would not be taxed, the district s Web site says. The tax affects only those individuals who live in the Anthony Wayne school district and currently earn wages, according to the Web site.

This may be more appealing to some of our older voters who are on a fixed income, Mr. Granger said. If the issue fails, Mr. Granger said the school board in the spring would have to make cuts for the next school year.

Also in Lucas County, voters in the Maumee City School District will consider a new 5.9-mill continuing operating levy.

If approved, the levy is expected to generate $2.9 million a year. School officials forecast a $2.7 million operating shortfall in 2010 without new revenue.

The levy would cost the owner of a $100,000 house an additional $181 a year in property taxes.

In the Ottawa Hills Local School District, voters will consider a 1.5-mill, four-year replacement levy for facilities and capital improvements. A 1.5-mill capital improvements levy expires at year s end.

School officials said the levy is needed to maintain schools and upgrade technology.

The levy would generate $278,157 a year and cost the owner of a $300,000 house $137.81 a year, or $12.86 a year more than the current levy.

Sylvania City School District voters will consider a 2.89-mill, 28-year bond levy for capital improvements.

The bond issue would support a $79 million building project to replace Central, Maplewood, and Hill View elementary schools. It also would fund building security and heating and air conditioning improvements. It would cost the owner of a $200,000 house about $177 a year.

Oregon City School District voters will consider renewal for another five years of a 2-mill levy for permanent improvements that has been in force since 1968. The levy generates $1.25 million annually and costs the owner of a $100,000 house $49 a year.

Voters in the Perrysburg Exempted Village School District in Wood County will consider a four-year, 7.3-mill incremental operating levy to replace a 5.8-mill incremental operating levy.

The levy would allow the district to collect 7.3 mills next year and an additional 0.75 mills each year in 2010, 2011, and 2012 for a total additional 3.7 mills. The school board pledged it would collect no more than 8.5 mills or less than the maximum 9.6 mills allowed in the final year.

The existing levy costs the owner of a $200,000 home $355.23 a year. The new levy would increase that by $91.88 in 2009 if the school board collected the full 7.3 mills. District officials project that they ll need only 7.08 mills that year, for an annual increase of $78.40. If projections prove correct, the actual tax increase each year would be $28.79 in 2010 and $26.95 in 2011, with a $10.41 reduction in 2012.

The levy is expected to generate $5.8 million next year, or $600,000 more than the current levy, and on average an additional $593,183 in each of the next three years.

The Eastwood Local School District in Wood County is seeking a 5.8-mill, 28-year bond issue for constructing and improving buildings, and a piggyback 1-mill continuing levy for permanent improvements.

Funds collected would go to the construction of a prekindergarten through eighth-grade building. The levy would replace an existing 1.2-mill levy. The linked bond-permanent improvement issue would cost $14.75 a month for the owner of a $100,000 home, or $177 a year.

Voters in the Swanton Local School District in Fulton and Lucas counties will consider an income tax renewal of sorts.

The current income tax is 1.25 percent. The proposal sets the income tax rate at 0.75 percent for five years. District officials project that the new rate would generate $1.4 million annually, about $800,000 less than the district collects at the current rate.

Evergreen Local School District voters in Fulton and Lucas counties will consider renewal of a 0.75 percent, five-year income tax. The tax raises $1.22 million a year for general fund expenses.

Voters in the Genoa Area Local School District in Ottawa County will consider a 1.9-mill, 28-year bond issue, along with a required 0.5-mill continuing levy for the maintenance of buildings. The measure would cost the owner of a $100,000 house $73.55 a year, or less than half the cost of a 4.9-mill bond issue that voters rejected in March.

The bond issue would fund the construction of an elementary school and improvements to Genoa Area High School.

Voters in the Woodmore Local School District in Ottawa and Sandusky counties will consider a 3.5-mill, five-year levy for building repairs and other improvements. The levy would replace a 1-mill permanent improvement levy and an expiring bond issue collected at 2.6 mills.

The measure would cost $107.19 annually for the owner of a $100,000 home, or $5.38 more than now collected.

Staff writers JC Reindl and Carl Ryan contributed to this report.

Contact Mark Zaborney at:mzaborney@theblade.comor 419-724-6182.



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