Poland Township residents to vote on school and road levies
By Jessica hardin
Poland Township residents will see levies to benefit Poland schools and roads on the ballot in November.
The school district is seeking a five-year renewal of an emergency operating levy that was first passed in 1984.
The 2.65-mill levy generates $1,068,055 annually.
Because it’s an emergency operating levy, it will fund the district’s day-to-day operations and functions such as wages and benefits.
Passing the levy “hasn’t been a challenge” in the past, said Superintendent David Janofa, “but every time you ask for money, you are cautious and nervous.”
The levy will cost the owner of a $100,000 home $81.16 annually.
Janofa thinks the board’s actions in response to a performance audit completed in February should inspire confidence in voters.
“We’ve made significant reductions since receiving the performance audit. We’ve demonstrated our abilities to reduce costs and improve services,” he said.
A performance audit completed in February recommended the school district cut staff and close buildings.
The audit was conducted after a five-year forecast projected the district would have a deficit of more than $4.8 million in fiscal year 2022, according to the auditor’s office.
Janofa noted that passage of the levy is critical to continuing the board’s cost-cutting progress.
“If it doesn’t pass, it wipes out all those things we’ve done since March to correct the financial situation,” Janofa said.
The situation for Poland’s roads is much less immediate.
The 2.03-mill levy “has nothing to do with salaries or operating costs,” said Poland Township Trustee Eric Ungaro.
Instead, the money will be used to pave the township’s worst roads.
The new seven-year levy would generate $650,317 each year and will cost the owner of a $100,000 home $71.05 annually.
Ungaro predicts that the success of the levy is contingent upon residents’ understanding of it.
“The reality is that our job is to educate public on what [the levy] is. We’re not in dire straits. This is a quality of life issue,” he said.
Ungaro also noted that the township will save 20 percent to 30 percent of the cost of paving by completing the projects at once.
“We decided to say: ‘We either are going to tackle this all at once or kick it down the road by spending $100,000 a year on paving,’” Ungaro said.