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Published: Friday, 10/10/2003

Regional voters face levy requests

LEIPSIC, Ohio - If voters in the Leipsic Local Schools approve a 4.97-mill bond issue Nov. 4, the district would become the third in Putnam County to take part in an accelerated program to use state funding to rebuild or replace aging schools.

The issue is one of a handful of tax requests and contested races in the county.

Leipsic's 20-year bond issue would raise $5 million for construction of a gym, cafeteria, and music facilities, freeing more space for classrooms. The new tax would cost the owner of a home valued at $100,000 about $150 a year.

Superintendent Ron Bash said the new structure would count toward Leipsic's local match for money from the Ohio School Facilities Commission.

Under the state's expedited local partnership program, however, districts seek local tax funds and begin construction before the state facilities money becomes available. Voters in Ottawa-Glandorf and Kalida in Putnam County have approved bond issues under the program.

Mr. Bash said Leipsic addition will form the core for later expansion.

The state pledges to pay 65 percent of Leipsic's project, and the bond request would cover a large portion of its required local match.

“We signed an agreement with [the state] to be an expedited local partnership because we're committed to build a piece of the project,” Mr. Bash said. “It's more than just the building, it's locking in the state commitment.”

Leipsic envisions a $20.3 million complex that would replace the town's aging school building, which houses its 660 students.

Under new commission ground rules, Leipsic has a year to obtain voter approval for the bond issue, or it will relinquish its place in line for state funding, Mr. Bash said.

Elsewhere, a bond issue before voters in the Continental Local School District would replace a swimming pool.

Sandra Muir, superintendent for Continental since Aug. 1, said the school district years ago paid a dollar to the township in exchange for pool. The outdoor pool is considered an important part of the school's recreation facilities. “The pool needs to be replaced,” Ms. Muir said. “It's really kind of neat thing for the school, which as grown as the hub of the community.”

A 2.38 mill bond issue for 20 years would raise $1.3 million for construction, and a tandem 1.85-mill bond issue would raise $45,000 for five years for operations. Defeat of either issue would doom the project, she said. The pool, built in 1962, has been patched and repaired beyond its life expectancy, she said.

The 735-student district has a third bond issue on the ballot seeking renewal of its 1.4 mill, five-year permanent improvement levy.

Two years ago, Continental dedicated its renovated middle school-high school complex. The $16 million project, funded mostly by the Ohio School Facilities Commission, was the first northwest Ohio project completed under the state program.

Elsewhere in the county, Ottawa-Glandorf Local School District seeks renewal of its 1.5 mill property tax for five years, and eight communities have property tax renewals before voters. The only new taxes sought, outside of school districts, are:

Jackson Township, Fort Jennings Fire District, 0.8 mills, five years additional.

Jackson Township, Kalida Fire District, 1.35 mills, five years, additional.

Jackson Township, Ottoville Fire District, 1 mill, five years, additional.

Monroe Township, 1.5 mills, five years, fire service.

Monterey Township, 1.95 mill, five years, road repairs.

Contested mayor's races include:

Belmore: Clifford Clark, Jim Young.

Cloverdale: Lelas Prowant, Sharon Barnhart, and William Lucas.

Continental: Terry Dockery, Sr., James Ruen.

Dupont: Robert Heidenescher, James Machunas.

Fort Jennings: James Smith, Regina Schimmoeller.

Leipsic: Kevin Benton, Robert Steingass.

Pandora: Gary Hilty, Edwin Kolhoff, Clifford Morris.



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