Written by Larry Limpf
March 29, 2010
Genoa school officials are hoping a pledge to remove property tax millage and reduce fees will make a 1 percent earned income tax levy on the May 4 ballot more palatable to senior citizens as well as parents with children enrolled in the Ottawa County district.
Members of the school board and administration have scheduled a community picnic April 22 at 5:30 p.m. at the high school to discuss the income tax issue and to update the public on construction plans for a new elementary school building which is being partially funded by the Ohio School Facilities Commission.
If voters approve the income tax issue, the board plans let a 5-mill, 5-year property tax levy expire in December, 2012 – three years before it is scheduled to expire.
“We’re trying to get the property tax off everybody’s shoulders,” Dennis Mock, school superintendent, said. “We know the economy is difficult for people and it’s really getting difficult for us.”
Other costs will also be reduced before the start of the 2010-11 school year if the income tax is approved:
• Fees for students in kindergarten through high school will be lowered to $20 from $70.
• Pay-to-participate fees for students in sports and extra-curricular activities will be lowered to $20 from $75.
The board plans to implement a student (K-12) pass for regular season home athletic events.
Unlike income tax issues that Genoa voters rejected twice in 1995, this tax would only be levied on earned income.
Income that wouldn’t be taxed includes Social Security benefits, railroad retirement benefits, disability, welfare, and survivor’s benefits, child support, workers compensation benefits, pension and annuity distributions, IRA distributions, capital gains, federal, state, and local bond interest, and property received as a gift, bequest or inheritance.
It will take approximately 18 months for the district to receive the full amount of revenue from an income tax, which would be in effect for five years, Bill Nye, district treasurer, said.
He estimates it will generate about $1.5 million annually when in full effect.
However, the district is projecting a loss in state funding of about $175,000 by fiscal 2011, Nye said, adding Genoa schools, like other districts, have seen revenues from local property taxes drop with the slumping housing market and economy. In addition, rock bottom interest rates paid on the district’s invested funds have also hurt revenues.
Even with cuts in spending and personnel of about $788,344 in the last school year, the district faces a deficit by the end of the 2011-12 fiscal year without more cuts or additional revenues, Mock said.