B-C-S to decide another levy

Larry Limpf

After a campaign of coffee klatches, live sessions on Facebook and public meetings, voters in the Benton-Carroll-Salem School District on Aug. 6 will decide a 3.9-mill, 5-year property tax levy.
If passed, the levy will generate about $1.5 million annually for the district’s operating expenses. For the owner of property with a market value of $100,000, the 3.9-mill levy would cost about $136 annually.
Voters approved a property tax in 2018 that generates about $1.4 million annually but have rejected an income tax ballot issue three times.
If the property tax levy doesn’t pass Tuesday, the administration will implement further spending cuts and fee increases that have already been approved by the board of education, including the elimination of bus service for students in grades nine through 12 and no busing for students who live within two miles of their schools.
The school board and administration have stressed during the levy campaign that the levy is needed to offset the loss of about $6 million in revenue – about a third of the district’s $20 million operating budget.
The loss stems from two sources. The district is losing about $278,000 a year in state reimbursements designed to offset the end of public utility personal property taxes. The phase-out of the reimbursements began in 2015 and will continue through 2030, resulting in a total loss of about $4.5 million to the district.
And the de-valuation of the Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station reduced its taxable value by about three-fourths, causing B-C-S to lose about $4.6 million annually in tax revenues starting last year.


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