Area voters to decide more than 40 tax issues in November

Dayton-area voters who go to the polls Nov. 2 will determine whether they continue to fund police and emergency services, pay more to upgrade roads and bridges, build new schools or a jail — and determine if drinking is allowed outdoors in one downtown.

Cities, school districts and other tax authorities in Greene, Miami, Montgomery and Warren counties filed to put more than 40 tax issues on the November ballot before 4 p.m. Wednesday, which was also the deadline for candidates in most jurisdictions to file for election.

Greene County is asking voters to approve a 0.25% sales tax to help build a new 384-bed jail estimated to cost $50 million. If approved, the tax is projected to bring in about $6 million a year.

The county hasn’t determined when the sales tax might end, but county commissioners will petition the tax commissioner to reduce collections on the increase to zero as soon as a jail bond issue is retired, according to Brandon Huddleson, Greene County administrator.

After Troy City Council approved a Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area, or DORA, a citizens’ group opposed to the idea successfully got enough petition signatures to force a referendum on the ballot.

“People don’t understand why we have to have alcohol out in the public eye downtown,” Dave Pinkerton, one of the petition organizers, said earlier.

The city had hoped to implement the drinking district as early as mid-April but that didn’t occur pending the outcome of the petition drive.

“We are obviously disappointed that the DORA is no longer an option for our downtown businesses, residents and visitors to our downtown in 2021, unless it passes in November,” said Troy Mayor Robin Oda.

The largest revenue-generator on the ballot is Montgomery County’s Human Services Levy. The portion of the levy on the ballot in November will bring in more than $73 million annually to fund safety-net programs for abused and neglected children, children and adults with developmental disabilities and people with drug and alcohol dependencies. It also provides help for seniors, healthcare for the indigent and services for those looking for work.

“It’s critically important, especially this year,” said Montgomery County Commission President Judy Dodge.

Dodge said the Human Services Levy provides a level of direct support to roughly 50,000 residents and nearly everyone in Montgomery County through Public Health – Dayton & Montgomery County, which conducts restaurant inspections and has delivered important COVID-19 information and vaccines throughout the pandemic.

Brookville voters will again be asked to approve a streets levy twice rejected. Each time before, it was coupled with a parks levy also rejected. Council decided to put just one in front of voters in November, said City Manager Sonja Keaton.

The Brookville levy would cost the owner of a $100,000 home $134.75 more a year and bring in $474,447, according to the Montgomery County Auditor’s Office.

Since 2017, the city hasn’t had the funds to resurface streets, a maintenance practice that’s less expensive than letting roadways deteriorate to the point they need to be reconstructed, Keaton said.

“If you start losing the base, it’s going to cost a lot more,” she said. “We want to get back on a program where we can continually maintain our streets on an annual basis.”

Voters in Germantown and Trotwood will also vote on a slew of municipal charter amendments that deal with the powers and duties of various board members, salaries and council actions.

While the odd-year election won’t have any candidates for statewide or federal offices, ballots won’t be lacking for local candidates seeking municipal council or school board seats, said Brian Sleeth, Warren County’s elections director.

Sleeth said some Warren County cities and school boards are seeing double or more the number of people enter races.

“Seeing all these candidate petitions pulled and filed, it’s crazy,” he said.

Wednesday was the filing deadline, but county elections boards still have to certify tax issues and candidates in the coming weeks for them to be confirmed for the November ballot.

And some communities, including Kettering, Moraine and Riverside, have later filing deadlines (Aug. 19), allowed by their city charters. Franklin and Waynesville in Warren County also have later deadlines.

School levies

Six of the seven school levies on the November ballot are in Miami County, as it’s a rare election with no school issues in Montgomery or Warren counties.

Piqua City Schools are asking voters to approve a permanent 4.88-mill substitute levy, to raise at least $2.1 million per year. Substitute levies keep existing properties’ tax rate the same, but allow the schools’ tax revenue to grow in future years if there is new construction.

Voters in the Bradford school district will decide on a 20-year, $1.7 million bond issue that Superintendent Joe Hurst said would help pay for a new track and field facility and hopefully a football stadium. At 1.84 mills, the cost would be $64 a year on a $100,000 home. But Hurst said the district’s previous bond is expiring at the same time.

The other four school levies in Miami County are renewals of existing levies — a 17-mill property tax in Milton-Union, a 0.75% income tax in Newton, and a pair of property tax levies in Bethel.

The Yellow Springs school district in Greene County is asking voters to approve a large new income tax-property tax combination to pay for construction of a new K-12 school campus. Residents will cast a single vote on the two-part levy.

The permanent income tax would be set at 0.5%, the equivalent of $250 a year for someone with $50,000 in qualifying income. The property tax is tied to a 37-year, $23 million bond issue estimated to cost $227 annually for the owner of a $100,000 home.

Yellow Springs voters rejected a different school construction levy in 2018.

What voters will see on November ballots

Montgomery County

JurisdictionPurposeTypeMillageLengthCost/$100k homeIncreaseAnnual Revenue
BrookvilleStreets levyAdditional3.85 mills5 years$134.75$134.75$474,447
CountywideHuman Services LevyRenewal8.21 mills8 years$211.70No$73,287,360
EnglewoodFire/EMS levyAdditional1.65 millsContinuing$57.75$57.75$477,329
German Twp.Parks and recreation levyReplacement 0.5 mill5 years$17.50$2.19$103,391
Jackson Twp.Police/EMS levyRenewal1.8 mills5 years$42.75No$109,646
Jackson Twp., North Fire DistrictFire/EMS levyAdditional2.5 millsContinuing$87.50$87.50$137,894
OakwoodCurrent expenses levyRenewal2.72 mills5 years$38.86No$468,301
Perry Twp.Fire levyAdditional2.5 millsContinuing$87.50$87.50$300,248
PhillipsburgStreets and bridges levyAdditional3 millsContinuing$105.00$105.00$22,069
RiversidePolice, fire/EMSIncome taxAddl. 1% (2.5% total)Continuing   
Washington-Centerville Public Library DistrictCurrent expenses levyRenewal3 millsContinuing$74.23No$5,167,279

Greene County

JurisdictionPurposeTypeMillageLengthCost/$100k homeIncreaseAnnual revenue
BellbrookOperating expenses levyRenewal1.3 mills5 years$31.65No$226,000
CountywideBridges levyRenewal0.25 mill5 years$6.30No$994,000
CountywideJail constructionSales tax0.25%   $6,000,000
FairbornFire/EMS levyRenewal4.4 mills5 years$113.60No$2,300,000
FairbornPolice levyRenewal4.4 mills5 years$113.60No$2,300,000
CedarvilleCurrent expenses levyRenewal2.6 mills5 years$14.41No$17,000
Cedarville Twp.Fire/EMS levyRenewal1.0 mill5 years$27.08No$79,000
JamestownPolice levyRenewal5.4 mills5 years$87.04No$104,000
JamestownStreets, roads, bridges levyAdditional2.3 mills5 years$80.50$80.50$74,000
Jefferson Twp.Fire/EMS levyRenewal2.0 mills5 years$21.28No$40,800
Jefferson Twp.Roads and bridges levyAdditional3.0 mills5 Years$105.00$105.00$117,000
Ross Twp.Fire/EMS levyRenewal1.5 mills5 years$14.81No$21,000
Silvercreek Twp.Fire/EMS levyAdditional2.0 millsContinuing$70.00$70.00$176,000
Spring ValleyCurrent expenses levyRenewal2.3 mills5 years$60.60No$16,000
Spring Valley Twp.Current expenses levyRenewal0.3 mill5 years$1.80No$7,000
Spring Valley Twp.Current expenses levyRenewal1.0 mill 5 years$31.52No$88,000
Spring Valley Twp.Fire/EMS levyReplacement and increase3.0 millsContinuing$105.00$99.00$290,000
Yellow Springs Exempted School District*Income tax and bond issueAdditional0.5%, 6.5 mills37 years$227.50$227.50$1,089,000

Warren County

JurisdictionPurposeTypeMillageLengthCost/$100k homeIncreaseRevenue
BlanchesterParks and recreation levyRenewal3.0 millsContinuing$70.99No**
CountywideWarren Clinton Mental Health Recovery Board levyRenewal1.0 mills5 years$21.87No$6,065,160
CountywideWarren County Senior ServicesRenewal1.21 mills5 years$29.93No$8,122,242
Deerfield Twp.Parks and recreation levyAdditional1.5 millsContinuing$52.50No$2,437,410
Franklin Twp.Senior citizens levyRenewal0.25 mills5 years$6.51No$131,458
HarveysburgPolice levyRenewal and increase2.5 mills5 years$66.19$17.41$26,153
HarveysburgCurrent expenses levyRenewal and increase3.0 mills5 years$73.85$17.56$29,136
*Does not include impact of income tax component of bond levy.
** Collected by Clinton County
Source: County auditors and election boards

Staff Writer Nancy Bowman contributed to this report.