Milton-Union operating levy due for renewal


By Matt Clevenger

For the Miami Valley Today

WEST MILTON — Voters will decide the fate of a long-running operating levy supporting the Milton-Union Exempted Village School District Tuesday, Nov. 2.

Originally passed in 1991, the operating levy has been renewed by voters every five years since then, and it will become a continuing levy if it is passed again this year.

“Voters in the Milton-Union EVSD have approved this levy every five years for the past 30 years,” Milton-Union Schools Superintendent Dr. Brad Ritchey said. “Approving as a continuing levy will eliminate the need for a repeated vote every five years and minimize voter fatigue.”

Converting to a continuing levy would also save the district the financial expense of repeatedly putting the issue before voters.

“The county auditor assesses a bill to the district,” Ritchey said. “A continuing levy eliminates ongoing expense to the district in the future for this particular school issue.”

Because it is a renewal, passing the levy would not create any additional taxes.

“This particular levy was first passed in 1991 at 17 mills, and is now actually collecting at a rate of 7.81 mills,” Ritchey said. “Therefore, the levy generates roughly the same amount as first passed in 1991.”

“Any increase will still need to be approved by voters,” he said.

The levy generates approximately $1.8 million per year and accounts for an estimated 12.8% of the district’s total general fund operating budget. Funds from the levy are used for operating expenses, including educational programming, curricular materials, classroom resources, equipment and supplies and employee salaries and benefits.

If the renewal levy is not approved, cuts may be needed immediately.

“Cuts would need to be made to make up for these losses until a new levy could be passed,” Ritchey said.

“If this levy is not renewed by Dec. 31, 2022, then effective Jan. 1, 2023, the levy will be removed from the Miami County tax records, and the district will no longer receive any tax funding from this ballot issue,” he said. “The district’s tax revenues would be reduced by roughly $900,000 in FY 2023 and then the full levy amount of $1.8 million in FY 2024.”

“Typically, renewal levies have passed with 58-60% approval rate,” Ritchey said.

If the levy fails, the district could still propose a new levy in 2023, although a new levy would not be subject to the same discounts as the original operating levy.

“The new levy would not qualify for the rollback discount like our renewals,” Ritchey said. “This means, even if the same amount were put on the ballot, taxpayers would see a higher tax bill because they would no longer receive the discount.”

In addition to the 1991 operating levy, the district is also supported by two other levies.

“The district has two additional levies that will be on the ballot for voter consideration in the future,” Ritchey said. “The district has a permanent improvement levy that was renewed last in November 2020 and an additional operating levy up for renewal in November 2022.”

“We appreciate the long history of community support shown for the Milton-Union Schools,” Ritchey said.

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