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HILLSDALE -- Two levy renewals regarding Hillsdale School District will be in the community's hands in the upcoming election.
The operating and the permanent improvement levies are both five-year renewals and will cost taxpayers no additional money, Hillsdale Local School District Superintendent Steve Dickerson explained.
The operating levy renewal is a combination of three previous operating levies first passed in 1990 at 7.4 mills, 1998 at 4.8 mills and 1999 at 7.9 mills. Voters agreed to combine them in 2015 at 20.1 mills, saving the district money by not being on the ballot every year and avoiding voter fatigue. Though the ballot language will state the original 20.1 voted millage, voters are approving the effective rate at 14.1 mills.
The permanent improvement levy was first passed in 1985 at 1.4 mills and is currently collecting at 0.57 mills.
The operating levy costs about $36 monthly from every homeowner with a $100,000 property, and the permanent improvement levy costs $1.76 based on the same $100,000 property value.
Income received from the operating levy would fund student programming and services, as well as the day-to-day operations of the schools. While money from the permanent improvement levy would go towards projects such as technology updates, a roof, new buses, security updates, kitchen remodels and other building maintenance projects.
Dickerson highlighted two key points regarding the impact these renewals will have on the schools and the district’s taxpayers. First, he explained that even if the operating levy is defeated, because of state law taxpayers will still pay over half of the millage anyway. And secondly, he continued, dollars collected from Rover Pipeline are based on the voted mills of the district, not the effective rate.
If the levies are defeated, the district could lose 43.5 percent, or roughly $2 million, from Rover Pipeline.
"A hidden part of these levies is the effect it has on Rover dollars that are looking to be used to build our new school -- without using taxpayer dollars or experiencing a bond issue," said Dickerson. "The levies are strictly renewals. They're operating dollars to maintain current operation.
"We've been doing, I think, a great job being frugal with our taxpayers' dollars."
Further, if the operating levy is not passed by voters, community members would still have to pay over 50 percent of millage regardless due to state laws, Dickerson said. He cited a law passed in 1976, House Bill 920, which states that school districts collecting 20 mills at that time couldn’t receive less than that amount from taxpayers.
Defeating the operating renewal levy drops the effective rate of Hillsdale’s levies to 12 mills. In order to reach the floor, 8 mills would be added so that taxpayers would still pay 20 mills.
Early voting is currently in progress, and the general election is set for Tuesday, November 5. To find your polling location or two see your ballot, visit ashlandvotes.us.