Sunday, April 22, 2007

The Next Levy: Alarming Estimates

If you have followed this blog, you know that I have been asking the School Board (during the public comments time of the Board meetings) to give the community an estimate of what the next levy is going to cost us. They have flatly ignored my request.

Treasurer Brian Wilson in his Five Year Forecast reports that the funding shortfall in FY2011 will be in excess of $37 million annually, which is the same thing as saying our community will need to come up with a combination of spending cuts and new tax revenue to cover this. We're not going to get any help from the State of Ohio on this, they have frozen the State support at current levels.

So how many mills does it take to raise say $40 million of new revenue in our community? I asked that very question of the County Auditor's office (who has always been very helpful in answering my questions), and their answer was:

IT TAKES 16.66 mills to raise $40 million per year!!!!!!!

Okay, so why did I write this with so much emphasis? Take a look at what happened to your tax bill with the last levy, which was 3.95 mills. This next levy could be more than 4 times that amount!

Let's look at it another way. The current effective millage rate in our district is 42.11 mills. To add 16.66 mills would be a 40% increase, if I'm doing all the math correctly. Here's how this would hit me: Our current school tax burden is $4,581 per year. A 40% increase would add $1,832 to my taxes, for a total of $6,413.

That's going to hurt. Ten years ago, in 1997, our total property tax bill was about $5,000, including all the other township and county taxes we pay. This year it will be $7,200. With this new school tax, it could become $9,000 per year.

But you know, it's not so much that the taxes are going up, it's that the School Board refuses to alert the community to this problem. I think it has something to do with Mayor Schonhardt being up for re-election (unopposed) this November, as well as three Hilliard City Council seats and two Board of Education seats.

Please help me demand that the School Board start talking about this levy right away!

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