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Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

The Press Newspaper

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The shuttered Carroll Elementary School building could have a new owner soon.

The Benton-Carroll-Salem Board of Education last week approved the sale of the building for $15,500 to the Carroll Township trustees, according to Tim Coffman, district treasurer.

The school district opted to close the building along with Graytown Elementary in 2011 after voters turned down a new 3.9-mill levy. The defeat forced the consolidation of the district’s remaining buildings, a reduction in bus routes and other cuts.

According to the Ohio Revised Code, school board members had two options regarding the aging building, Coffman said. They could sell it to another government entity or they could put it up for auction. There was no tax duplicate estimated value on the property. Coffman said since the property is tax free the auditor’s office didn’t set a value on it.

Talks began with Carroll Township trustees because of its proximity to other township property. Carroll Elementary, a 24,000-square foot building that housed pre-kindergarten through fifth grade, is located on State Route 19, directly across from the township complex that houses the police station and community hall.

Coffman said he is not sure what the township intends to do with the building or when the township trustees will put the purchase agreement up for a vote. Township officials were not available for comment.

An environmental review of the school property is being planned and the township is working with the Ottawa Regional Planning Commission and county commissioners to complete the study.

Ottawa County oversees Environmental Protection Agency grants amounting to $400,000 available for various types of reviews, said Joe Gerber, planning commission director. The grant distribution is broken down into two fields - $200,000 for petroleum sites and $200,000 for hazardous substances.

This summer, commissioners approved $4,500 from that grant fund for the school property study.

“It’s a very basic assessment undertaken with the grant money to determine if they are any issues with the buildings or grounds,” commissioner Jim Sass said.

The review, which could take a couple of months, is being conducted by Soil and Material Engineers, the county’s consultant for the federal grant, Gerber said.

“Often when a property is changing hands, buyers just want to make sure there is nothing wrong with the property,” Gerber said.

With the building sale in the works, the board of education has moved ahead in keeping its financial house in order and unanimously approved two renewal levies for the November ballot.

Together, the five-year, 3.9-mill operating levy and the five-year 1.2-mill permanent improvement levy bring in about $1.4 million annually for the school district, Coffman said.

The permanent improvement levy costs the owner of a $100,000 home about $12 a year. The operating levy costs the same homeowner about $93 a year.

Operating levies can be used for day-to-day expenses such as salaries and employee benefits, he explained. Improvement levy monies go toward projects such as textbooks, technology, and parking lot and building roof repairs.

Voters first approved the 3.9-mill levy in 2000, the treasurer said.

“That was the last new levy we had,” Coffman noted.

District officials will assemble a committee to promote the ballot issues. Its first meeting will be Aug. 6 at 7 p.m. at the board of education building on State Route 163.

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