|City, school levies, state race on ballot|
|Sunday, May 04, 2014 8:00 PM|
BY NANCY SPENCER
Voters will have several levies, a state race and a state issue to decide on Tuesday. Delphos City and City Schools voters will decide on a trio of local levies.
The city’s .25-percent Income Tax Levy tops the list. The three-year measure, if passed, will generate approximately $400,000 year with collection beginning July 1. The funds are to be directed to the Parks and Recreation Fund.
While the city received good news on Thursday of a Lakeview Farms expansion that will invest $12 million in capital improvements and generate 200 new jobs, an immediate influx of revenue is needed. According to Mayor Michael Gallmeier, the income tax increase is the least painful way for all to raise city money.
“The increase, which does not affect Social Security or pensions, will cost taxpayers 25 cents on every $100 earned,” Gallmeier said. “If it doesn’t pass, we are going to have to cut services to the parks and raise water and sewer rates. Other items are also on the table.”
While council passed a balanced 2014 Budget on March 24, Fiscal Year 2015 and beyond show negative balance in the Sewer Fund and by 2016, the Water Fund is in the same shape.
Without the tax increase, rates will need to be raised significantly to improve the bottom line.
“We are looking at a 23-percent rate increase for sewer and a 15-percent increase for water,” Gallmeier said. “If this does pass, there will be a much lower increase in those rates.”
District voters will see two renewal levies on the Primary Ballot Tuesday. A 5.5-mill Operating Levy and a 2.25-mill Permanent Improvement Levy, both with a term of five years, will seek voter approval.
The Operating Levy generates nearly 10 percent of the district’s General Fund at $853,000.
“This levy is crucial to the General Fund and to maintain what we have,” Superintendent Jeff Wolfe said. “It’s not a new tax so it doesn’t raise anyone’s tax rate but it’s imperative to the district.”
If the levy fails, Wolfe said additional cuts would have to be made in personnel and student offerings.
“We aren’t asking for any new money; we just want to keep what we have, give our students the best education possible and continue to be an Excellent School District on the State Grade Card,” Wolfe said. “We are at bare bones.”
The Permanent Improvement Levy generates $264,000 a year and in its life has re-roofed and maintained buildings and grounds. It has also provided buses, computers and other 5-year life equipment needed to provide students with an education.
The levy was first approved at 2.5 mills in 1996, was renewed in 2000, was reduced to 2.25 mills on its second renewal in 2004 and renewed in 2009.
“We are always looking at repairs and maintenance on our buildings,” Wolfe said. “We have older buildings and you have to keep up with them. We are looking at some of the floors at the middle school as well as a new roof and work on the brick facade. The boiler in the school is also obsolete. We don’t know how long it will last and it will be costly to replace.”
The Republican Fourth District State Rep. contenders are Bob Cupp and Kurt Neeper.
Neeper sits on Lima City Council and is vice-president of business development of Superior Federal Credit Union. In the community, he currently serves as treasurer of the United Way of Greater Lima, chairman of Star Spangled Spectacular, sits on the Board of Directors of the Lima Symphony Orchestra and is a member of the Lima Rotary Club.
Cupp served as Lima City prosecutor, an Allen County commissioner, is a former State Senate President Pro Tem and most recently served as a Justice of the Supreme Court of Ohio.
State Issue I, a renewal of the Ohio Public Works Commission (OPWC) State Capital Improvements Program (SCIP) which has helped local communities all over Ohio complete 11,500 road, bridge, sewer and other infrastructure projects over the past 27 years will also appear on the ballot.
Issue 1 extends the program 10 more years, authorizing $1.875 billion in infrastructure aid for local governments and approves $175 million a year for five years, then $200 million a year for five more years. Grants are up to 90 percent for repair/replacement projects and 50 percent for new projects.
Van Wert and Putnam Democrats will decide the State Senator Dist. 1 contender for November. Incumbent Cliff Hite, Miko Schaffner and Corey Shankelton are vying for the spot.
Democrats statewide will decide on Larry Ealy and Ken Gray; or Edward FitzGerald and Sharon Swartz Neuhardt for governor and lieutenant governor to face incumbents John Kasich and Mary Taylor in November.
Polls are open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday.