SMCS Officials Talk Levy At Council

Managing Editor

With the May 8 primary fast approaching, St. Marys City Schools Interim Superintendent Howard Overman and SMCS Treasurer Andy Wilker spoke to St. Marys City Councilors about the school district’s upcoming levy campaign during council’s bi-monthly meeting on Monday.

The purpose was to inform council of the levy in case constituents have questions.

“Because of the school finance and how it is run, our expenditures are exceeding our revenues right now and as you know in St. Marys, there were some cuts a few years ago, but the school has not received (an increase in) local funds since 2004,” Overman said in his opening statement to council. “That is quite awhile.”

On the May 8 primary, the district will have a 1.5 percent earned income tax levy for St. Marys residents to vote on to generate operating funds for the district. The proposed levy, if passed, would cost each resident  $1.50 for every $100 of earned income. The money generated by the levy will take 18 months to hit the district’s bookkeeping records at full force. At the end of that 18 months, the money generated would be $3.65 million.

SMCS is going with an earned income tax instead of a property tax because revenue received from a property tax would remain flat and even if the property values increase, the district only receives the amount listed in the levy.

With the earned income tax, it has the potential to create additional revenue, especially if incomes in the area rise. 

Overman said the district is a guaranteed district by the state, meaning SMCS receives the same amount of money from Ohio every year, adding another reason why the district is asking for a levy to be passed from residents.

Yard signs have been appearing around the city in support of the levy. The district has provided residents with information via Facebook and Twitter and Overman and Wilker handed out pamphlets to members of council, which list the reasons why the district needs a levy, how much money will be raised with the passing of a levy and answers to frequently asked questions.

“This is about the kids,” Overman said. “It is not about the football stadium. It (the levy) will operate it, just like it (the levy) operates everything else. 

Overman pointed out to council that there are 191 school districts in the state that have income taxes, and St. Marys is the only school district in Auglaize County that does not have an income tax. Mercer County only has one school district that does not have an income tax.

For a full story, see Tuesday's print edition of The Evening Leader.