The Archbold School Board will make the final decision to ask voters to renew a $1.1-million emergency property tax levy in the May 3 primary election.
Board members took the first step to that goal at a special meeting, Wednesday, Jan. 19, when they approved a resolution of necessity.
The resolution declares a need for the tax dollars, and asks the auditor to certify how many mills must be charged against property tax bills to generate the money needed.
The second step will happen at a second special meeting, today, Wednesday, 6:15 p.m., in the new Archbold High School conference room.
At that time, the board will consider a vote to file the necessary paperwork with the Fulton County Board of Elections to put the emergency levy renewal request on the primary ballot.
As an emergency levy, the board requests a set dollar amount; then Brett Kolb, Fulton County auditor, sets the requested millage.
Currently, the auditor offi ce charges 5.4 mills against county property owners. When the levy was originally passed in 2006, the amount was 4.91 mills.
As time passed, property values declined with the faltering economy, most notably in the industrial sector.
To generate the same $1.1 million, the number of mills charged had to be increased.
Figures provided by Kolb show that during 2009, the taxable value of all property in the Archbold Area School District was $221,514,970.
In 2010, the total value dropped to $204,141,500, a decrease of about $17.4 million, or 7.8%.
Residential property values increased by about fourtenths
(.4) of a percentage point from 2009 to 2010.
But the value of industrial properties in the school district declined by more than $18 million, from $52,350,890 in 2009 to $34,228,650, a decline of 34.6%.
If the board agrees to put the levy renewal on the ballot, and if voters approve it, the millage will be 5.39 mills.
Kolb said the millage figure is down by one-one hundredth (.01) of a mill because the State of Ohio Department of Taxation has notifi ed the county it will receive some additional money from telecommunications personal property taxes.
The telecommunications personal property tax is a tax on infrastructure such as telephone lines and switching equipment.
Jon Lugbill, board president, said the current levy is due to expire at the end of 2011, and the school board has been talking about the issue.
He said the board considered several factors, including economic conditions, changes in state leadership, loss of income if the levy expires, and the impact on the school district.
“As we have stated in past meetings, the district administration and staff have worked hard to hold the line on expenditures the past five years, which have resulted in a flat line or decline in spending,” Lugbill said.
“Our work is not done.”
He said the district will continue to pursue cost-cutting measures.
“The district will also continue to pursue alternative ways of funding in order to accomplish our goal of equipping our students for success.
“However, the sources of revenue to fund the district continue to decrease.
“With all of this in mind, and after careful consideration of multiple options, we feel that requesting a renewal of the five-year emergency levy for the same dollar amount is the most prudent decision at this time.”
Lugbill said, “While a renewal of the levy may only balance the budget for an additional two years, the board is not comfortable looking too far into the future, given the current economic climate facing our community and the nation.
“We are grateful for the outstanding programs our community allows us to offer our students.
"Because of the work done by the staff and the support given by the community, we are a blessed school district.
“We would ask our constituents to allow us to maintain these outstanding learning opportunities for our students by supporting a renewal of the five year emergency levy in May of 2011.”–David Pugh