Valley View residents to decide on JEDD tax tied to new school

Valley View Local Schools: Currently in use as the Valley View Junior High, this building, located in Farmersville, Ohio, was constructed in 1923 as the home of the Farmersville Wildcats.

Credit: Contributed

Combined ShapeCaption
Valley View Local Schools: Currently in use as the Valley View Junior High, this building, located in Farmersville, Ohio, was constructed in 1923 as the home of the Farmersville Wildcats.

Credit: Contributed

Tax would be levied only on people working at site of new school campus

Residents of Germantown, Farmersville, German Twp. and Jackson Twp. — all of which feed into the Valley View school district — will vote on a joint economic development district, or JEDD, in the May 3 election.

The JEDD is a structure to allow those four jurisdictions to levy income tax specifically on the parcel of land where the new Valley View school campus will go in German Twp..

Currently, the school district’s employees are spread out at buildings in different communities that have different income tax rates. Under the JEDD, all of the school employees working at the new campus would pay the new JEDD income tax rate, proceeds of which would be divvied up by the four communities.

The JEDD income tax rate would start at 1.5%, then drop to 1.25% after Dec. 31, 2024, when the school is expected to be completed. While the school is being built, the JEDD can tax the construction workers building the school, and after the school is built, the JEDD can tax the staff working there, said Germantown City Council Member Brian Wafzig.

The JEDD could bring in as much as $500,000 in just the initial years when the school is being built, Wafzig said. It is for an initial period of 10 years and auto-renews after that unless German Twp., Farmersville or Germantown pull out, he said.

A 1.5% JEDD tax would cost $750 annually for a person making $50,000 per year in taxable income at the school site. The 1.25% tax would cost a $50,000 earner $625 per year.

A separate tax levy, applied to everyone in the school district, was approved by voters in April 2020 to pay for construction of the new school campus and is already being collected. Also, school Superintendent Ben Richards said the JEDD vote will not change Valley View’s existing school district income tax in any way, whether the JEDD passes or fails.

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According to plans released from German Twp., the school district educates about 2,000 students residing in Germantown, Farmersville, German Twp. and Jackson Twp. A staff of 150 in five separate buildings located in Farmersville, German Twp. and Germantown currently educates the students.

Staff members working in Farmersville and Germantown, which includes the primary, intermediate and junior high schools, pay village or city income tax. The high school, though, is in German Twp., which does not have an income tax, as townships in Ohio can’t levy income tax on their own. Germantown’s income tax rate is 1.5% and Farmersville’s is 1%.

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Valley View Schools rendering. Courtesy of Valley View.

Valley View Schools rendering. Courtesy of Valley View.

Combined ShapeCaption
Valley View Schools rendering. Courtesy of Valley View.

Wafzig said the JEDD would set up a framework to allow the cities and townships to help further develop the land if there is interest, but the money would also go to maintain the services already provided. A board would oversee the JEDD.

“Not only will we (in the villages) not lose it all, but the townships actually will see a fairly significant windfall in income tax that they’ve never seen before,” he said.

One member of the JEDD board will be picked by Germantown and Farmersville, on a rotating basis; the second would be picked by Jackson Twp. and German Twp., again on a rotating basis; another member would represent the schools; the fourth would represent the people working at the school and the fifth would be picked by the other members.

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About 21% of the revenue from the income tax will go to maintaining the JEDD until 2024, according to documents describing it. After 2024, the maintaining percentage will drop to 6%. There will also be a percentage fee for the tax administrator and a percentage set by the board, between 2% and 10%, that will be put into an escrow account.

The rest of the tax will be divided up among the participating parties, with German Twp. collecting 35%; Jackson Twp. collecting 10%; Farmersville getting 20% and Germantown getting 35%.

Wafzig said the income tax collection will be limited to work done on the land and can’t be extended beyond that.

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