Seven local school districts are asking voters for tax increases to fund daily operations or building improvements on the May 7 ballot.
Multiple villages and townships are also seeking new public safety levies, and some cities are asking to make renewal levies permanent. Wednesday was the deadline for issues to make the May election ballot.
The schools in Oakwood, Beavercreek, Bellbrook, Tipp City, Piqua, Lebanon and Valley View all are asking for levies that would raise taxes.
Beavercreek Schools trying again after failing in November
After voters narrowly rejected a 6.2-mill levy in November, Beavercreek schools is back on the ballot asking for a five-year, 6.15-mill emergency operating levy. Beavercreek Superintendent Paul Otten has said that increased costs in mandated areas such as special education have the district outspending existing revenue.
A levy that passes in 2019 doesn’t start generating revenue until 2020, so Beavercreek’s school board is scheduled to vote next week on $2.7 million in proposed budget cuts, including elimination of 16 faculty positions and changes to busing and the length of the school day.
Oakwood residents split on two-part tax
The school district did a very public facilities planning process last year, and residents were split — some pushing for investment in the schools, while others were strongly opposed to new taxes.
In May, the residents will cast one vote on a two-part tax — a permanent 4.99 mills for day-to-day operation costs, and a 37-year, 2.71-mill bond issue for $18 million in facility improvements. The combined annual cost would be $269.50 for a $100,000 home.
“It’s needed and necessary,” Superintendent Kyle Ramey said. “This is our lowest (millage) ask in 30 years for operating dollars. For the bond issue, our buildings are 90 years old on average. … We are going to keep them, but we need to continue to invest in them.”
Ramey said the bond money would go toward “foundational infrastructure,” primarily at the junior high/high school complex — plumbing, electrical work, roofing and more. He said there’s still interest in building an “early learning center,” but that project is not included in this funding.
Bellbrook levy would raise extra $3M
Bellbrook and Sugarcreek voters will decide on a 7.5-mill replacement levy that would raise an extra $3 million per year on a permanent basis. A replacement levy takes a levy passed years ago and resets the millage on current property values. The change would cost the owner of a $100,000 home an extra $211 per year.
Superintendent Doug Cozad provided a district document saying levy funds would “continue our excellent and innovative programs, technology devices and infrastructure, replacement of old buses, curriculum resources, and to continue to provide competitive salaries to attract great teachers.”
Tipp City wants $35.75M for more space
The school district is asking for a 5.4-mill, 27-year bond levy to fund a $35.75 million project for new classroom space. Tipp City schools would add on to the L.T. Ball school while closing Broadway Elementary and Nevin Coppock Elementary.
The district hopes to receive partial reimbursement from the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission when its number for state funding comes up.
Valley View voters to decide on operating levy
Residents will decide on a 6.49-mill levy for day-to-day operating costs, the first new operating levy since 2013. Superintendent Ben Richards is planning at least $1.5 million in cuts over 3-4 years, including staff cuts by attrition, administrative restructuring and cutting some bus routes.
Lebanon Schools seek emergency funds
A new four-year, 4.99-mill emergency levy to pay for daily operating expenses would cost the owner of a $100,000 home an extra $174 per year. Superintendent Todd Yohey said the school district stretched its last operating levy for eight years, but costs have risen in that time.
Piqua wants to bump up existing levy
The school district is asking voters to adjust an existing levy for facility improvements, renewing the current 1.8 mills and adding another 1.2 mills.
Non-school levies on the May ballot
New Lebanon: This village of 4,000 people in western Montgomery County is asking residents for two significant new levies — a 5-mill fire levy and a 10-mill police levy, both permanent. If both are approved, they would cost the owner of a $100,000 home an extra $525 per year. Village manager Glena Madden did not return calls seeking comment about the levies.
Washington Twp.: Centerville and Washington Twp. voters will decide whether to approve a new, permanent 2.85-mill fire and EMS levy that would raise $5 million per year and cost $100 annually for a $100,000 home. Township leaders cited a need to hire more full-time firefighters given ongoing shortages of part-time staff. The levy would also allow for construction of a new $3.7 million fire station to replace the aging Maple Avenue station.
City of Union: The small city north of Englewood is asking residents to approve an income tax increase, going from the existing 1 percent, to 2 percent, on a permanent basis. The tax would pay for general city services.
Miami Twp.: Residents of the unincorporated part of the township will vote on a replacement and increase levy for police services, with millage rising from 5 to 5.5 mills. The cost for a $100,000 home would be $29.60 per year higher than the current levy.
Beavercreek: A parks and recreation levy would renew the existing 0.9 mills and add another 0.3 mills, making the 1.2-mill total permanent. The change would cost $10.50 more per year on a $100,000 home.
Jamestown: Village residents will vote on a new five-year, 1.8-mill police levy that would raise $50,000 and cost $63 per year on a $100,000 home.
Several communities are asking voters to renew existing levies at the same millage, but to make them permanent. Those levies include Kettering schools, three Trotwood levies (streets, fire and EMS), and Beavercreek streets.
TAX LEVIES ON MAY 7 BALLOT
* -- Moraine and Union income tax levies are listed by percent tax, not millage
# -- Oakwood's issue is a two-part tax, but on the ballot, it will be a single item for residents to vote on.
^ -- Tipp City bond would collect at 3.87 mills until high school bond is paid off in 2024, then 5.4 mills in 2025 and beyond
Source: County boards of election, school districts, estimates from county auditors