Oakwood voters to decide city real estate tax levy on March election ballot



Voters in Oakwood will decide March 19 on a levy to fund city services after a tax issue that expired at the end of last year failed to appear on the November ballot.

Issue 9 seeks approval of an additional 2.41 mills for five years, but would not increase taxes from the 3.75-mill renewal levy the city wanted to put before voters last fall, Montgomery County records show.

“We’re not asking for any more money,” Oakwood Finance Director Cindy Stafford said.

If approved, the levy would collect nearly $1.14 million annually, costing owners of a home valued at $200,000 about $168 a year, according to the county auditor’s office.

It would fund general city services — ranging from police and fire operations to street maintenance and leisure services, Stafford said.

“We want to continue those (services) like we always have done … things that our residents have always had in the past,” she said.

Because of a clerical error, the renewal was not on the ballot this past fall, prompting Oakwood to approve a 2024 budget projected to include about $1.3 million in deficit spending, City Manager Norbert Klopsch said.

He said the city has sufficient money in reserve to make up the difference. Oakwood seeks to have about equal to six months of general fund expenses in any particular year, Stafford said.

Klopsch said the levy is among two, five-year tax issues the city uses to supplement its general fund. The other is 2.72-mill issue voters renewed in 2021, county election records show.

The levy that expired at the end of 2023 was first approved by voters 10 years earlier after Oakwood let an existing tax issue to expire in 2008, officials have said. After state cuts to the local government fund and the loss of estate tax revenue, the city found it was losing about $3 million annually, or about 20% of its budget. Klopsch said.

Since 2018, Oakwood voters have approved all six requested levies and bond issues — whether they be city, library or school taxes, according to board of election records.

All of those ballot issues were supported by at least 54.8% of the voters. Of those, two city issues, both renewals, were approved by at least by at least 69.7% of voters, election records show.

About the Author