Several tax levies being considered for March 2024 election in Warren County

Some tax levies that Warren County voters rejected in November, along with some new tax issues, will be on the March 2024 primary election ballot for voters to consider.

Multiple jurisdictions have already started the process to place tax levies on the March 19 ballot and expect to file them with the Warren County Board of Elections by the Dec. 20 filing deadline.

Many entities are having the Warren County Auditor’s Office review the millage amounts needed to generate the tax revenue they are targeting. Those will be finalized when school boards approve resolutions to proceed.

Here is a look at levies that are being proposed for the March primary election:

Lebanon fire levy

This resolution places the newly reduced 6-mill fire property tax levy on the March 2024 ballot for renewal. The fire levy had been at 9 mills, but is being reduced to 6 mills as of Jan. 1, to offset the income tax increase that voters approved Nov. 7.

City officials say the 6-mill renewal levy is necessary to sustain fire and EMS operations. City Council has already approved ordinances reducing the fire levy collection as well as the income tax credit for residents, also effective on Jan. 1.

Waynesville schools levy

Wayne Local Schools is planning to place an additional five-year, 1.65-mill levy on the ballot to pay for permanent improvements (facilities work, buses, equipment, etc., not salaries). In November, voters rejected an additional 1.65-mill permanent improvements levy that would have been for an indefinite period.

Superintendent Sam Ison said the school board listened to voters and will be asking for the levy for a five-year term instead of permanent. The board is expected to approve the resolution of necessity at its next meeting.

Ison said the new levy would not increase property owners’ tax rates beyond their 2023 level. That’s because the current bond levy approved 25 years ago to construct Waynesville High School expires at the end of 2023, and it has the same millage as the new request. So voters’ school millage rate would either stay roughly the same (with a yes vote in March), or decline with a no vote.

According to the Warren County Auditor’s Office, the levy would generate $646,000 a year, with taxpayers paying $58 for each $100,000 of property valuation.

Warren County Career Center

The WCCC has also started the process to place a bond issue back on the ballot after voters rejected it in November by a 51.6% to 48.4% ratio. The county’s vocational school district is hoping to fund a new 1,100-student career tech campus adjacent to its current facility on Ohio 48 in Clearcreek Twp.

The current campuses hold preschool, plus high school and adult education programs for skilled workforce training. Satellite programming is available for grades 7-12.

The Ohio Facilities Construction Commission (OFCC) would fund $21.6 million or 24.4% of the project, and the district would have to raise $67.3 million or 75.5% for the project. The district has less than 13 months to get the local tax levy approved or it will lose the state share of construction funds.

The estimated cost to a property owner would be $29.32 per $100,000 of valuation.

Superintendent Joel King said WCCC is at 100% capacity for its high school career tech programs at Atrium Medical Center and the Main Campus for the 2023-24 school year, with many students turned away. He said the new facility would expand programming to meet the county’s workforce needs as well as offering adult education during the day and evening hours.

Harveysburg operating levy

Village officials said they plan to place the operating levy that failed in November back on the March ballot. Outgoing Harveysburg Council President Mark Tipton said Village Council is expected to place a 2.5-mill operating levy that would generate about $30,000 a year on the ballot.

Tipton said council would not be returning a police levy that failed in November to the March ballot, adding the next council will determine that in 2024.

Franklin City Schools

Franklin will be seeking a five-year additional emergency operating levy that seeks to generate more than $3.6 million per year. Superintendent Michael Sander said this is the first time the district has asked for more day-to-day operating money since February 2014. The amount will be 6.3 mills and would cost a property owner about $220.54 per $100,000 of valuation.

Not back on ballot

Two other communities are opting not to return rejected ballot issues to voters in March — a village of Waynesville levy, and a fire levy for Wayne Twp.

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