Greene County voters to decide on tax levies May 8

2:50 p.m Friday, Feb. 9, 2018 Local
Students from McKinney Middle School in Yellow Springs work on science activities in a creek bed as part of a three-day bike trip along the Little Miami River in 2016. Yellow Springs schools have emphasized project-based learning. TY GREENLEES / STAFF

The May 8 election will be an important one for Yellow Springs schools and residents of the Bellbrook-Sugarcreek area, as they will decide on new tax levies.

Wednesday was the deadline for school districts, cities, townships and other government agencies to file tax issues with the board of elections, to appear on the May 8 ballot.

Yellow Springs

The Yellow Springs school district will ask voters to approve a combination income tax and property tax issue to fund renovations and additions at the high school/McKinney Middle School complex.

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The property tax portion is a 4.7-mill bond issue that would cost the owner of a $100,000 home $164.50 per year for 37 years, according to the Greene County Auditor’s Office. It would be paired with a 0.25 percent income tax.

Master Plan documents from the school district describe an $18.5 million project to demolish some older sections of the school campus, significantly renovate others and construct a new 48,000 square foot academic wing, plus a 4,400 square-foot band room and office space addition.

Yellow Springs Superintendent Mario Basora said the district settled on this option after listening to repeated community input on ideas ranging from limited renovations to a brand-new K-12 campus school.

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He said there is a chance, not confirmed, for state money to cover some of the project. But if that doesn’t come through, the bond issue money would be enough to build the addition and do some renovations.

Basora said there are numerous needs — from roofing, structural and hazardous materials fixes, to kitchen improvements as well as better classroom and collaborative space for student learning.

Bellbrook and Sugarcreek

Bellbrook voters will have two new tax levies to vote on May 8. The city of Bellbrook is putting a permanent, 1.75-mill Fire/EMS levy on the ballot. City Manager Mark Schlagheck said the levy would fix a structural deficit in fire/EMS funding, plus allow the city to add an extra firefighter. The levy would cost the owner of a $100,000 home an extra $61.25 per year.

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Voters in both Bellbrook and Sugarcreek Twp. will vote on a new 10-year, 0.6-mill levy for the Bellbrook Sugarcreek Park District. That levy would add $21 per year to the tax bill of a $100,000 home.

Light election for schools

In the past two years, Beavercreek, Fairborn and Xenia schools have all been on the ballot at least twice with tax levies or bond issues, and the Greene County Career Center had a renewal as well. May 8 will be very different.

Yellow Springs is the only school district in the entire Dayton region seeking an increase in tax funding, and two Warren County school districts have the only school renewal levies on the ballot.

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In the past four May and November elections, the Dayton region has had at least seven school levies on the ballot each time, with at least four seeking an increase in taxpayer funding.