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YS school board— Facilities levy moves forward

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As anticipated, the Yellow Springs school board on Friday morning, June 25, took the first step in putting a levy measure on the November ballot to pay for the proposed construction of a K–12 school, projected to cost nearly $35.6 million, at the current site of the middle/high school campus on East Enon Road.

With all board members in attendance at the 8 a.m. special meeting in the Mills Lawn Elementary School gym, the vote was unanimous to adopt a “resolution of necessity” seeking a combined 6.53-mill property tax and 0.5% income tax.

The district seeks to raise $23 million through the new property tax, to be secured in bonds and repaid over 37 years at an estimated 4% interest, and more than $12.5 million in additional income tax.

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According to district Treasurer Tammy Emrick, a single millage would support about $3.53 million in bonds, while each 0.25% of income tax would secure $6.85 million over the measure’s life.

Emrick has estimated that the property tax alone would cost the owner of a home appraised at $300,000 about $680 a year. Consequently, the owner of a $200,000 home would pay about $453 a year, and the owner of a $100,000 home would pay nearly $227 in additional property tax. The personal effect of a 0.5% income tax increase would depend on each household’s circumstances, but for a family making the median local household income of $61,522, the annual tax increase would be $308.

District leaders have said they believe that a combined property/income tax would help spread the tax burden more equitably. But state-set debt limits also necessitated a combined measure in that the most millage the district can currently seek without going over the limit is 6.8, and a bond levy of 10.11 mills would be necessary to raise the desired project’s amount of nearly $35.6 million. At 6.8 mills or less, however, the income tax revenue needed to make up the cost difference wouldn’t be enough at a 0.25% rate, the lowest level. Income tax levels can only be adjusted in 0.25% increments, which led the district to seek the 0.5% increase.

Friday’s action is the first official step the board must take before putting the issue to voters in the fall.

The approved “resolution of necessity” will now go to the Greene County auditor and the Ohio tax commissioner, who will determine whether the requested tax rates will raise the desired income. Once certified, the issue will come back to the board for final approval as a “resolution to proceed,” which will include the exact ballot language. The millage amount may be adjusted, depending on the tax commissioner’s findings, but any change in what was approved Friday is expected to be slight.

When the ballot request is finalized, the News will post a calculator on its website for residents to plug in their household income and assessed property valuation to determine individual obligation if the measure passes.

Friday’s meeting, which also included approval of fiscal year-end bookkeeping, lasted 15 minutes, and included little discussion. Aside from school officials and this reporter, no other attendees were present.

“This feels good,” board President Steve Conn said after the levy vote. “We’re moving forward.”


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