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Liberty school levy loses by 24 votes

WARREN — Liberty voters turned down a levy that would have funded repairs to the school district’s roofs, heating and cooling systems, along with other improvements.

The Liberty Local School District’s proposed 2.5-mill levy would have generated about $565,000 per year for five years.

The levy failed by 24 votes; about 51 percent of voters selected “no,” while 49 percent voted yes, according to incomplete and unofficial results Tuesday from the Trumbull County Board of Elections.

Tuesday’s vote came just one day after Joseph Nohra, the former school district superintendent, was indicted on six felonies and five misdemeanors, accused of bugging a school district office in 2018. His lawyer denied the accusations.

Also, the vote follows Liberty schools slated to get nearly $5 million in federal COVID-19 relief funding since last year.

If the levy had passed, an older 0.9-mill levy would have expired. The levy would have cost the owner of a $100,000 home $87.50 per year.

But because a 1997, 4.35-mill bond was paid off in 2020, the district’s voters could have approved the levy, but still have seen a smaller tax bill — compared to the property tax bill from a year ago, school board member Diana DeVito said while supporting the levy measure.

The levy was not permanent. And, the district has a “tremendous need” for the levy, she said.

The 0.9-mill levy that would have been allowed to expire raises just $157,000 per year, not enough for the district’s long-term maintenance needs, DeVito said.

If the money had been approved, it would have raised $357,000 for the high school rooftop HVAC system, $1.125 million to replace the roof on the high school, $780,000 to replace the roof on Blott Guy PK-6, $87,800 to repair and repave all parking lots, $68,200 to resurface the athletic track, $351,420 to update buses and snow removal equipment, $40,000 to improve restrooms, and $370,000 for a data server, computers and security systems update.

rfox@tribtoday.com

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