Lebanon board considers school levy

The Lebanon Board of Education is expected to take the first step Monday toward placing a property tax levy raising $5 million a year in new money for operations on May election ballots.

Superintendent Todd Yohey said the money was need to offset expenses that have risen over the past eight years, when the last levy for new operating money was approved in the Lebanon school district.

“It was supposed to last five years. We stretched it to eight,” Yohey said Friday.

The board is scheduled to meet at 5:30 p.m. at board offices to vote, among other things, on a resolution asking Warren County Auditor Matt Nolan to determine what millage is needed to raise the $5 million in additional revenue needed in the emergency levy.

The resolution indicates the money is needed “in order to avoid an operating deficit.”

Yohey said administrators expected Nolan to project roughly 5 mills, since each mill typically raises $800,000 to $1 million in the district. The resolution indicates a 4-year levy would be placed on May 7 ballots.

Nolan said this would likely cost property owners $175 for every $100,000 of property value.

At this point, the only other issue on the May ballot in Warren County is a referendum on a rezoning in Wayne Twp.

Yohey said a second resolution would need to be approved by the school board setting the date, millage and duration of the levy.

“That’s when it really gets placed on the ballot,” he said.

The money would be used to pay utility bills, transportation costs and other expenses that have gone up since the last new- money levy was approved in 2011 by a 251-vote margin, according to Yohey.

In March 2016, just under 62 percent of Lebanon district voters approved a 3.5-mill renewal levy.

Yohey said the district needed the money despite anticipation of a one-time $1.5 million payment from Lebanon from underpayment of the district from proceeds owed despite tax incentives granted to businesses in the district.

Board offices are at 700 Holbrook Ave. in Lebanon.