by Judy Stringer
July 24 board of education meeting
Hudson City School Board voted unanimously to pass the second of two resolutions that will place a 5.5-mil levy on the Nov. 7 general election ballot. The levy, if approved by voters, would cost the owner of a $100,000 home an additional $193 per year.
At the June 26 board of education meeting, Treasurer Phil Butto said that based on his most recent five-year forecast, expenses will outpace revenue this fiscal year, ending July 31, for the second year in a row. The forecast shows the district will spend $1.7 million more in 2023 than it brings in, an overage that swells to $7.5 million in 2027, if a levy is not passed. Under those circumstances, the current cash balance of $27.5 million shrinks to just over $6 million in 2027.
Butto cited inflation as the main “deficit spending” culprit, explaining that while costs for the district are increasing rapidly, property tax collections – its main source of income – are not.
In their comments on July 24, several board members noted that this is the first new operating levy the district has requested in 12 years.
“Most districts in Ohio, you see a levy every four or five years or sometimes even more often than that,” said board member Laura Jones, “so the fact that we’ve been so careful with our money over the past 12 years, that we could stretch it out that long, I think is pretty incredible and again shows that we are using our money wisely.”
Alisa Wright reiterated a point the board and Butto had discussed in earlier meetings, which relates to timing. If the levy is passed this year, it will be based on 2023 property values. Home values across the county are expected to increase between 25-30% next year.
“So, there’s a benefit, we hope, to taxpayers in terms of passing it in November,” Wright said.
Jones and others also stressed that levy collections do not increase with property value inflations because of a state law that prohibits levies from collecting any dollar amount greater than the amount when they were passed.
“I think a 4.9 mil that we passed in 2011 is now valued at like 3.2 mils because property values have gone up so we’re collecting less on it,” she said.
Likewise, Jones continued, if it passes, the 5.5-mil levy “probably already won’t be a 5.5 mil next year. It’ll likely drop because property values would go up.”
The board also approved a 3.5% salary increase for administrative and non-compensated staff. Human Resources Director Lisa Hunt said there are about 25 administrators in the district and 25 non-represented staff members. ∞