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The Press Newspaper

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        Voters in the Gibsonburg Exempted Village School District will decide a 1 percent income tax issue on the Nov. 7 ballot.

        Prior to voting, district residents will have three opportunities to discuss the ballot issue with the school board and administration.

        Informational sessions are scheduled for Oct. 10, 17 and 24 at 7 p.m. at the high school to field questions from the public, Tim Murray, district superintendent, said.

        The ballot language states an additional income tax of 1 percent is being requested, but the district is actually seeking a replacement levy of 1 percent for five years. Currently, a 0.75 percent income tax is being levied on earned income of district residents.

        If voters approve the ballot measure, it would go into effect Jan. 1, 2019.

        According to district figures, the 0.75 percent issue collects about $800,000 annually. A 1 percent income tax is expected to generate about $1.2 million a year.

        “We’ve really tried to be more frugal in our spending,” Murray said. “We went through a reduction in force in the spring of 2016. Now we’re down in the high 60s percent range for salaries and benefits as a percentage of our operating budget. There are not many schools that can claim that.”

        State revenues to the district dropped by $1.4 million in the prior biennium budget and Gibsonburg will likely see another drop of about $370,000 in the state’s current spending plan, he added. A drop in student enrollment was a factor in the loss in the previous biennium. Still, the impact on the district from the current state budget is also being felt.

        “We’re trying to offset that loss. We’re never going to be able to offset the previous biennium budget loss. That was devastating and that’s why we had to go through a RIF. If we can get that additional quarter percent we can start putting ourselves in a better situation financially as we look to the future,” Murray said. “We’re still operating in the black and I think we’re being very good stewards of the taxpayers’ money. But we have no cushion. If we lose a boiler or a roof, we’re scraping pennies.”

        If the income tax is approved, the administration and board may consider bringing some programs back such as elementary school art.

        Murray and the board are emphasizing the income tax is collected from earned income such as salaries and wages but not from Social Security payments and pensions.

        The Oct. 10 and 24 forums will be dedicated to the income tax request. The Oct. 17 session will also be a candidate night for those running for seats on the school board, village council and Madison Township board of trustees.

        Four candidates are vying for three seats on the school board: incumbents Scott Pertner, Caesar Mendoza and Sheryl Krotzer are being challenged by Jackie Kidd-Lutzmann.

        Five candidates are in the race for four seats on village council: incumbents Ken Cantrell, Charles Gerwin and Donald Kerwin are being challenged by Ashley Brown and Randy Maynard. Maynard served on council in the past.

Kent Kirsch and Andrew Gerbich are the only candidates for two seats on the board of trustees.

 

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