BY Jordan Cohen
Police replacement levies will be decided by Howland and Cortland voters Nov. 6, while Howland also will vote on school-district and fire- department levies.
In Cortland, a 3-mill police levy replaces an identical tax collected since 1996 but under an older and lesser property evaluation, according to Fran Moyer, finance director.
“The current levy generates [more than] $305,000 annually, but the replacement would bring in $405,000 because it would be upgraded to our current valuation,” Moyer said. “We have no income tax so our police department is funded solely by levies.”
Revenue from the replacement levy amounts to nearly 38 percent of the department’s budget of $1.1 million. The department consists of the chief and eight full-time patrolmen.
Two police levies go before Howland voters. A continuing levy of 0.75 of a mill replaces two previous levies and reduces the millage by 0.25 of a mill. Another continuing levy of 1 mill for the police department also is on the ballot as is a 1.75-mill replacement levy for the fire department. The fire issue also replaces two prior levies.
Howland has 21 full-time police officers and 26 full-time firefighters.
According to township Treasurer Robert Costello, the police levies will generate more than $710,000 annually or 49 percent of the police budget. For the fire department, annual revenue from the replacement levy is projected at more than $711,000, approximately 41 percent of the budget.
“The state budget has cut everybody and with the latest county appraisal, everybody’s property value has gone down,” Costello said. He expects declining revenue to continue through 2013. “You’ve got the state eliminating the inheritance tax so our loss from that could be $80,000 or even higher.”
The Howland Local School District has a 10-year 8.1-mill renewal levy that would replace two previously renewed five-year levies and would generate $5,050,000 annually.
Thomas Krispinsky, the school treasurer, said the revenue amounts to 18 percent of the district’s annual budget of $27 million.
Howland schools have been hit hard by the closing earlier this year of RG Steel. The recent half-year real- estate distributions showed a decline of $780,000 for the district and the outlook remains bleak. “Not only did RG Steel hurt us, but so do tax credits to Delphi and two other tax exempt properties,” the treasurer said. Krispinsky estimated the lost revenue from the tax credits and exemptions as exceeding $900,000 annually.
“Even with the renewal, we’re still going to face a deficit in the coming years,” Krispinsky said.
The treasurer said the district has the third lowest total tax rate of all school districts in Trumbull County.