Community Contributed

Barberton City School’s presented new ideas for the existing tax levies

Community Contributed Article

  • December 10th, 2018
  • by Justin Greer

A school levy is a local property tax collected to help finance education programs within a school district. Often you may see a levy marked as an emergency and just as other Government activities, the term emergency does not mean the crisis in the sense we know it. An Emergency Levy is a voted levy for a period not to exceed ten years that must generate a single dollar amount in each of those years. An emergency levy is a temporary levy that stays the same for up to ten years.

As Barberton City Schools attempt to plan ahead and form a long-term strategic plan, they have brought the current levies into the spotlight. On December 6, 2018, the Key Communicator Committee met to discuss ideas surrounding a new strategic plan being drafted for the next five years. The biggest topic by far was the discussion of modifying the current school levies.

Barberton City Schools are looking at forming a new long-term plan and are finding it hard to make commitments with the current levy structures. The issue is not the tax amount but rather the lack of guarantee of the tax further than 5-10 years. As a homeowner and business owner myself, having a solid platform to plan makes it possible to focus on other issues at hand. The school levies are a different ball game than my planning, but the concept is very similar.

There were three main options presented to the committee as possible routes to take for the 2019 ballot. None of these options are NEW money or increases to any levy amount.

  • Option 1: Leave the tax levy structure as-is and continue to vote for the 5 years and 10 years.
  • Options 2: Combine the two current tax levies into 1 and vote every 10 years.
  • Option 3: Combine the two levies into a single Substitute tax levy.

Option 1

Leaving the current tax levies as-is is pretty cut and dry. The levies will continue to show up on the ballots in increments in 5 and 10 years.

Pros and Cons

  • Pro – The levy system will be voted on often.
  • Con – The schools lose some stability in long-term planning due to having to budget on what levy is providing more (regarding time left).
  • Con – In the event a tax levy fails, funds are lost until the next voting cycle.

Option 2

Combining the two levies into one levy is more of a way to consolidate multiple tax levies and vote every ten years.

Pros and Cons

  • Pro – The schools will have the full amount of the tax levy to plan with. Giving potentially better programs and education.
  • Con – If the levy fails the schools lose all the money at once will most likely result in the termination of programs, teachers and other related expenses.

Option 3

This option consists of combining the two levies into one levy while making the tax permanent.

Pros and Cons

  • Pro – The levy is equally applied to all homeowners and as new homes are constructed the tax burden per household goes down. With this option, you only pay the same or less in property taxes. This is because the tax is applied across all homeowners at the same rate to achieve a single dollar amount. The more paying., the less each homeowner pays.
  • Con/Pro – The Homestead Exemption will expire and no longer be available. The property value that was exempt will then me put back into the pot making tax go down for everyone else.
  • Con – If the levy fails the schools lose all the money at once will most likely result in the termination of programs, teachers and other related expenses.

As you can see, there are many pros and cons to each option with some being not so black and white. There is also plenty more pro and cons that should be discussed at some point in time. All the above options were mentioned in a committee meeting, and nothing was etched in stone or applied. These options were to be presented in a manner that the board could gather initial feedback before forming a new committee to move ahead more seriously.

The number is large, but the amount is the same (or possibly lower)

Option 1 and 2 could prove to be hard to swallow if you look at numbers. By combining the tax levies, the tax amount will look remarkably higher since both levies will be rolled into one. It is important to remember that the tax amount we pay will remain the same though. We already pay this amount now but it is split into two levies. With this said, Option 3 creates something else to take into account. With option 3, any new construction project that generates property tax will be added to the pool of taxpayers. Since the tax levy only needs a set amount, all payers will pay less over time (if new construction is brought into town). It is important to remember that option 2, and 3 will keep the taxes at a set rate for that levy.

Considerations

The last thing I want to leave the article with is the fact that these proposed levy changes do not guarantee a new levy cannot be put on a ballot at a later time. The schools may request more money at a later date. These options are only for reorganizing the way the schools present the current tax levies.

Community contributed articles are for entertainment and do not represent the views of the Our Barberton Project. Community articles should be taken as opinion from the authors perspective.


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