Springboro school officials are planning to seek approval of a substitute levy in the November election for an existing levy that generates slightly more than $7.9 million annually.
Under renewal of the existing levy, approved in 2013, individual tax bills would stay similar or go down, as property values go up, and new homes and commercial buildings are built, increasing the tax base.
But district officials said they are forced to operate with the same amount of revenue in this case, while faced with rising costs and growing student populations.
Under the substitute levy, the district would collect more tax revenue as new homes and buildings are constructed and the tax base grows. But the bills of existing taxpayers should stay the same, barring a reappraisal or change by the county board of tax review.
“The difference in a substitute levy is that the value of the new construction is not used to decrease tax rates,” Treasurer Terrah Floyd said in an email Monday.
With a substitute levy, taxpayers still benefit from 12.5 percent in credits, 10 percent for property owners, 2.5 percent if owner-occupied. This rollback is no longer attached to new levies.
Last week, the Springboro board seemed united in support of asking voters to approve a continuing substitute levy after a discussion with Floyd and Superintendent Dan Schroer.
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If the substitute levy fails to win voter support in November, the district still has a year to win approval of a replacement levy.
In November 2013, Springboro voters approved the most recent 8.78-mill five-year, renewal. It is currently levied at 8.38 mills due to the increased property valuation in the district since passage.
Prior to the November 2013 election, district voters rejected five consecutive levies for additional operating money.
“This to me sounds like a slam dunk, but we all know it’s not a slam dunk to pass a levy in Springboro,” resident Tiffany Carlisle said during the board discussion on Thursday, April 27.
In the past, Carlisle said, anti-tax advocates in Springboro had supported renewals, but not tax issues raising new money.
The existing levy covers roughly 18 percent of the district’s annual operating budget, and expires at the end of 2018.
Failure to at least renew the existing levy would cost the district more than $20 million by 2021, according to Floyd.
The administrators said the substitute levy was favored by 30 community leaders called together earlier this year.
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“New construction doesn’t pay their fair share,” Board President Dave Stuckey said during the discussion.
If voters passed the continuing substitute levy, the tax would be in place in perpetuity, barring a rollback.
Board member Lisa Babb said a continuing levy would save money and time devoted to levy campaigns.
The board is expected to vote on the levy at its May 11 meeting.
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