*This story first appeared in The Budget’s April 25, 2018, Local Edition
By Beverly Keller
Voters in the Garaway Local School District will have two votes concerning the school system in the primary set for May 8.
The first, Issue 2, is an additional property tax levy for emergency purposes. It will raise a fixed amount of $750,000 per year that is needed due to the decrease in school funding from the State of Ohio.
“The Ohio legislature favors large, urban school districts rather than rural ones such as Garaway,” explained. Wanda Angel, a Garaway parent and volunteer Community Levy chairperson for the Garaway School District. “State revenue support for education and bus transportation is decreasing. In addition, federal funding is being cut significantly, and cuts are scheduled to continue.”
The cost to a homeowner with a property valued at $100,000 is $105 a year or $8.75 per month, which equates to a large iced coffee with a breakfast value meal at McDonald’s.
The second, Issue 3, is being called a substitute levy. For those already paying taxes on a property, there will not be an increase. Instead, the substitute levy allows tax collection on new properties – both residential and commercial – that are built.
In the past, when a new home or business opened, Garaway Local did not receive an increase in funding. They were capped at the max amount based on when the levy was first put into place. For example, if when a levy was originally passed it brought in $100,000, the most it can ever bring in is $100,000. The replacement levy will allow taxes to be collected on new dwellings and businesses at the same rate everyone is paying, instead of a lesser amount.
Because the same amount of tax revenue has been collected by the levy since 2009, despite the growth throughout the district, there has been no increase in funds to Garaway as a district.
“The substitute levy addresses this new growth and allows the district to capture additional revenue without negatively impacting current home and business owners,” explained Angel. “Their property tax bills will remain the same as they are for this levy. In addition, the substitute levy benefits the senior citizens of the Garaway District as they will be able to retain their homestead and rollback exemptions that total 12.5 percent [of their tax bill.]”
The substitute levy will bring in an initial $1,487,300 for a continuing period of time. That income will increase with time as new homes and businesses are constructed. The amount of 5.8 mills, a reduction of the original levy, passed in 2009.
“We have a great school and great community,” Angel shared. “The Garaway tradition of excellence needs to continue.”
On the ballot:
- Issue 2 – Proposed Tax Levy: Additional
For: Emergency requirements of the School District in the sum of $750,000 (3 mills) for a period of 10 years.
- Issue 3 – Proposed Tax Levy: Substitute
For: General operations of the School District in the initial sum of $1,487,300 for a continuing period of time.