Written by Larry Limpf
Friday, 26 September 2008 09:21
With the Eastwood School District’s 1 percent income tax collecting more revenues after being on the books for 18 months and the district receiving more revenues than expected from Troy Energy, total revenues for the first two months of the fiscal year starting July 1 are higher than projected for the Wood County school system.
Superintendent Brent Welker last week released figures for the district which show the income tax in July and August of 2008 generated approximately $819,631, compared to $240,271 during the same two months last year.
Eastwood voters approved an income tax that began in January 2007 but it takes almost 18 months for the tax to reach its maximum revenue levels while employers set up withholding from employees’ paychecks, Mr. Welker said
The Eastwood board and administration, however, are bracing for revenues from the Troy Energy facility– which stem from a property tax abatement agreement with the school district - to end sooner than previously thought. As the state of Ohio completes the phasing in of a commercial activity tax and sheds taxes on tangible personal property such as business equipment, machinery and inventory, Eastwood’s revenues from Troy Energy may suffer, Mr. Welker said.
“We just don’t know,” he said. “We may not receive the total amount in the abatement agreement. We don’t know how the change in the state tax will affect us.”
General property tax revenues for the same two-month periods show a drop to $1.85 million this year from $1.91 million in 2007.
But the district has gained so far this fiscal year in other areas, propelling total revenues to $4.37 million for the two months – about $729,249 more than the same period in 2007.
Expenses for the two months this fiscal year are slightly lower than during the same period last year. The district realized lower retirement/insurance costs - $309,374 – so far this fiscal year compared to July and August, 2007, when those costs were $426,777.
Capital outlays were only $35,794 so far this fiscal year, compared to $150,232 during July and August of last year. Mr. Welker said the district made a sizable investment in computers and related technology last year.
Bond issue on ballot
The school board will hold a town hall forum Oct. 14 at 7 p.m. at Eastwood High School to discuss a bond issue that will be on the November ballot.
Voters will decide a 5.8-mill, 28-year bond issue that would, if passed, fund the local share of construction costs for a new school building.
If voters approve the bond issue, Eastwood will qualify for about $13.6 million from the Ohio School Facilities Commission to construct a new building on the central campus to house kindergarten through the eighth grade classes.
Eastwood officials decided to segment their OSFC project and include improvements not covered by the state program. Of the $18.3 million Eastwood share, about $3 million in upgrades will come under what are called locally funded initiatives, including a new heating pump system for the high school building, a pitched roof with a 40-year guarantee for the new K-8 building, hard surface tile flooring for the new school, and a faster cable Internet connection to the central campus.
Mr. Welker said the new heating system at the high school would replace one nearly 50 years old and will be as efficient as a geothermal system but less costly.
The new Internet connection, after the initial equipment investment, will cost the district about $1,200 a month less to operate than the current system, he said, and will be paid off in six years.
The state typically installs a low-sloping roof with a 20-year guarantee on new buildings, Welker added. Eastwood officials wanted a roof with a longer life.
Having a new elementary school at the central campus will help the district save about $1.75 million in operational costs over five years, Mr. Welker said.