Thursday, October 13, 2016
By Jordyn Grzelewski
Boardman voters will decide Nov. 8 whether to renew three tax levies that support the township and school district.
The township has up for five-year renewals two levies for current expenses, both of which were originally approved in 1976 and which support the general fund.
One is a 0.7-mill levy that generates $260,391 annually. The other is a 3-mill levy that generates $1,320,490 annually.
Township officials say renewal of the levies is crucial to the township’s operation.
“We use these for operations, and we really do count this as continuous money,” fiscal officer William D. Leicht said. “Without that, we would carve out another $2 million from our budget, which would be catastrophic.”
The township operates on a roughly $20 million annual budget. Of that figure, the township is projected to spend about $9.3 million on payroll this year, according to the fiscal office. The township currently employs 157 people, including part-time and seasonal workers.
Also, the Boardman school district is asking voters to approve a tax renewal that combines two levies into one to avoid three- and five-year renewals, all of which cost the district money to put on the ballot.
“What we’re trying to do is alleviate voter fatigue and save the taxpayers unnecessary expenditures while giving them the option to approve a renewal levy,” said Greg Slemons, district treasurer.
The consolidation combines two emergency operating levies – which are set for a specific dollar amount – that were first approved in 1984 and 2012, respectively. The issue that voters will see on the ballot is a 10-year renewal of a 5.5-mill levy that generates $4,646,975 annually.
Funds from the levy support the general fund and are spent on day-to-day operating expenses. The school district operates on a roughly $45 million general-fund budget, and employs approximately 550 classified and certified employees.
Slemons said it’s important the levy renewal is approved.
“It’s part of our budget and revenue stream for the educational programs that we offer to our students,” he said.
“We continue to be proper stewards of taxpayer dollars, and that’s why we’re looking at different options on the combined levy,” he added. “We’re still giving taxpayers the option to voice their opinions, but in the long run, saving taxpayers’ dollars that can go back into the classrooms and to educational programs.”