School seeks renewal levy, no new taxes

By Cecilia Fox -

WEST MILTON — On Nov. 8, the Milton-Union Exempted Village School District is asking voters to continue their support for a a 17 mill, five-year renewal levy.

“There are no increase in taxes with this, it is truly a renewal levy,” Superintendent Brad Ritchey explained. “Sometimes when people see 17 mills, they feel like that’s an astronomical number. But the effective millage is about half that.”

The levy generates about $1.7 million annually, the same amount that was generated when the levy was first passed in 1992. If it is renewed again on Nov. 8, it would be the fifth time this levy has been renewed.

The effective millage rate is 8.99 mills, according to district treasurer Kay Altenburger. The millage rate is set at 17 mills because of the changes in property valuation since 1992, Ritchey said.

The levy costs taxpayers $1.70 for every $100 in property valuation. It appears as Issue 31 on the ballot.

The funds from this operating levy are used for day-to-day expenses like transportation, instructional supplies, and extracurricular programs, Ritchey said.

This renewal levy generates a significant portion of the district’s $15 million budget, Ritchey said.

The district pursues grant funding and utilizes energy practices like wind turbines and solar panels in order to maximize savings, Ritchey said. The district operates at a little more than 60 cents per square foot, he added.

“We’ve tried to watch our pennies on a number of fronts,” he explained. “Our teachers and our staff members have been trained to seek other avenues for funding besides always going to our voters.”

If the levy were to fail, the absence of that funding would be felt immediately, Ritchey said. The district would have to place the levy back on the ballot in the spring.

“We’ve counted on it for several years, but we certainly aren’t taking for granted our community’s trust,” he said.

By Cecilia Fox

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