SM BoE to Place Levy on May Ballot

Staff Writer

The St. Marys City School District will be on the ballot once again come May 7. The board agreed during a special meeting Wednesday evening that it will be asking voters to renew an emergency property tax that has been in place since 2004.

Voters recently approved a 1 percent earned income tax levy to bring the district out of deficit spending and allow it to continue operating with its current offerings. Now they're asking to keep that momentum going.

"In our five-year forecast, this was included since it is a renewal," Superintendent Bill Ruane said. "This is important for our operation."

The renewal levy, valued at 5.92 mils, would generate $1,838,898 in operating funds. Treasurer Robin Lamen informed the board that while the amount generated is unchanged from previous years, the millage has decreased since the levy was first passed in 2004.

"In 2004, it was 7.9 mils to collect $1,838,898," she said. "Now ... we're looking at 5.92 mils."

Laman further explained the figures using a $100,000 home as an example and informing the board that that homeowner would pay $207 a year with this tax. Renewing the emergency levy also grants taxpayers access to the homestead rollback tax credit offered by the state. With the credit, the state pays 12.5 percent of each homeowner's tax for all renewed levies.

To make the levy — both the new earned income and the emergency property taxes — more effective, the district had made cuts totaling $1.2 million before passing the income levy. Ruane added that the school is not looking to add back any of those cuts even if the emergency levy is renewed.

"We're going to continue to be fiscally responsible," he said.

To read the full story, pick up a copy of the Jan. 24 edition of The Evening Leader.