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Library, 911 Seek Property Tax Levies



The Archbold Community Library and the Fulton County Commissioners are seeking property tax levies in the Tuesday, Nov. 7 General Election.

Also asking voters to approve a property tax are the German Township Trustees. That levy is profiled elsewhere in this newspaper.

The Archbold Community Library Board currently collects a seven-tenths (.7) mill levy from property owners in the Archbold Area School District.

The Archbold School Board is the taxing authority for the library, because state law does not allow library boards to collect property taxes.

The current levy raises $134,900. Because the amount of money a levy raises is not allowed to increase as property values appreciate, the millage is reduced to adjust the amount collected.

The reduced millage is known as the effective millage.

The effective millage of the current levy is .5641061, said Annie Hernandez, fiscal supervisor for the Fulton County Auditor office.

The owner of a $100,000 home pays $19 per year, with property tax reductions.

School district voters will be asked to approve a new 1.2-mill levy.

Hernandez said if the new levy passes, it will raise about $267,000 per year for five years.

If the levy passes, it will cost the owner of a $100,000 home in the school district $42 per year.

One factor in the cost to property owners is a change in the rollbacks.

In the past, a homeowner’s property tax bill was reduced by 2.5% for an owner-occupied home and 10% for buildings used for private homes and agriculture use.

State officials removed the reductions for new property tax levies or property tax levies that are replaced rather than renewed.

Since the Archbold library levy is new money, it is eligible for the reductions.

Need

When asked about the need for the money, Joyce Klingelsmith, library director, said “In the foremost, we need a new roof, and we don’t have money for that.”

One architect’s estimate to re-roof the library is in excess of $100,000.

The other reason the library needs the money is uncertainty in state revenue.

Each budget year, the state of Ohio sets aside a portion of state revenues for support of libraries. The money goes into the Public Library Fund, or PLF.

In past years, the state has changed the amount set aside for the PLF.

“Fluctuations in state revenue has made it impossible to set money aside for much of anything,” Klingelsmith said.

“We’ve tried to live within our means since 2009, and we’ve tried to never ask for more than we needed, and it’s all caught up with us. We haven’t been able to put anything back since 2012.

The current levy is not set to expire until 2019.

The library board, through the school board, has instructed county officials to stop collecting the current levy if the new levy is approved.

911

The Fulton County 911 emergency dispatch system has been operating on a seven tenths (.7) mill property tax levy since it was first established in 1989.

Hernandez said the current levy raises just over $607,000 each year, with an effective millage of .578001.

It costs the owner of a $100,000 home $20.23 per year.

Rich Kilgour, Fulton County 911 system coordinator, said the county 911 advisory board met with Brett Kolb, county auditor, and went over a number of possible scenarios.

In the end, they decided to ask voters countywide for a renewal of the .7 mill levy, plus an additional threetenths (.3) mill, for a total of one mill.

Because the .7 portion is a renewal, not a replacement, it will receive the 2.5% and 10% reductions.

The .3 mill is considered new money and is not reduced.

If voters approve the levy, it will raise an estimated $911,000. For the owner of a $100,000 home, it will cost about $31 per year.

“The cost of technology, equipment, maintenance, and training has gone up,” Kilgour said. “We have to have 24-hour service contracts in place with our vendors. If something goes down, it can’t wait until morning.

“Basically, the cost of that is starting to outweigh the funding.”

If the levy does not pass, Kilgour said the advisory board members estimate the 911 system will be operating in the red (in a deficit) in about three years.

“We have a very good 911 system. It’s modern, and there’s always something new, some better or best way to do things,” Kilgour said.



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