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Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

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       Community forums are being planned in the Benton-Carroll-Salem School District to discuss an income tax request on the November ballot.

        The B-C-S school board voted unanimously earlier this month to place a 1 percent, 5-year tax issue on the Nov. 6 ballot.

        Voters rejected a similar request in May by 50 votes but approved a 3.89-mill property tax.

        The property tax is expected to generate about $1.4 million annually. Had it passed, the income tax would have raised about $1.98 million a year - also for operating expenses.

        “This vote is about controlling our own destiny as a school district community. Voting for this earned income tax means doubling down on a very high performing organization in our community in this time of uncertainty," said Superintendent Guy Parmigian.

        Parmigian said the district is facing unprecedented revenue loss and he attributes much of the loss to the financial condition of the Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station. With the Ohio Department of Taxation approving the recent devaluation of plant property, the school system is being hit with an annual loss of about $4.6 million in tax revenues.

        Another hit to the school district came with the state phasing out the reimbursement payments that were designed to offset the end of the public utility tangible personal property tax. The B-C-S administration is estimating the district will have lost about $4.5 million when the phase-out is complete in 2030.

        Those two factors, Parmigian said, are responsible for the “unprecedented losses.”

        What is called a bridge payment from the state of $1.8 million a year is scheduled to end in 2021.

        Parmigian said the payments will be needed as it will take time for the income tax, if it passes, to be collected in full.

        A school income tax is only collected on earned income, defined by the department of taxation as wages and self-employment earnings, including earnings from partnerships.

        Interest, dividends, capital gains, pensions, Social Security income, rental income, lottery winnings, and income earned by estates are not subject to the school income tax.

        If passed, it would be paid by district residents with earned income regardless of where they work and would be collected the same way as the state income tax; through employer withholding or individual quarterly estimated payments, and annual returns.

        Parmigian said the board has been keeping a tight rein on spending. In 2012 fiscal year, the payroll was $11.5 million. After making staffing cuts, payroll expenses dropped to $9.7 million and haven’t risen since.

        “This has been done while being innovative, adding services for students, and being one of the top performing school districts academically in the state,” he said.  “These efficiency measures will continue, but the magnitude of the annual revenue losses mean that the school district simply cannot cut its way out of the situation without drastically reducing educational opportunities for students.  The school board is always looking for ways to always be fiscally conservative for our voters, and not just when money is needed.” 

        If the income tax issue isn’t approved the school board has already decided it will return to the ballot, saying the need is there.

        Residents may consult the district website at www.bcssd.com for more information or call the board office at 419-898-6210.

 

       

 

 

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