Ballot Issues

Two Issues Face B-C-S Voters on 5/8/18

For questions citizens are encouraged to call the Board Office at (419) 898-6210, or email Superintendent Guy Parmigian at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Treasurer Cajon Keeton at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

OVERVIEW

The Benton-Carroll-Salem Board of Education voted unanimously at a February 5th Special Meeting to ask voters to pass two separate tax issues on the May 8th ballot to raise new revenues that will secure the future for B-C-S students.  

The need for the two tax issues is due to an unprecedented loss of $6 Million annually when comparing Fiscal Year 2017 to Fiscal Year 2022 revenues.  There are two reasons for this unprecedented loss of revenue.  First, there is the phase out of public utility tangible personal property (PUTPP) reimbursement payments from the state at the rate of approximately $300,000 per year, which began in 2015.  This phase out continues through 2030.  Second, the revenue loss stems from the recent de-valuation of the Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station by its owner, First Energy, through the Ohio Department of Taxation.  The de-valuation results in an annual loss of 4.6 Million. For context, the current operating budget for the district is approximately $20 Million.

The B-C-S Board will seek to make up a little more than half of these losses, about $3.4 Million annually, through two tax issues that will be before voters on the May 8, 2018 ballot.

The first issue will be a 1% earned income tax.  If passed by voters, the earned income tax would have to be paid by all residents of the Benton-Carroll-Salem School District for a period of 5 years, and subject to renewal.  According to the Ohio Department of Taxation, "earned income" includes wages and self-employment earnings (including earnings from partnerships). "Earned income" does not include interest, dividends, capital gains, pensions, rental income, lottery winnings, and income earned by estates.  The earned income tax is collected in the same manner as the state income tax: through employer withholding, individual quarterly estimated payments, and annual returns. Employers are required to withhold the tax and submit payments to the state under the same rules and guidelines as they currently use to withhold the state income tax. Individuals subject to the tax are required to file an annual school district income tax return.  According to the Ohio Department of Taxation, the 1% earned income tax would generate approximately $1.989 Million for the Benton-Carroll-Salem School District to be used for operating expenses.

The second issue before voters on the May 8th ballot will be a 3.89 mill property tax to be paid by all property owners for a period of 5 years, and subject to renewal.  If passed, the property tax would cost an additional $136 per $100,000 of value for each parcel of property annually.  This property tax issue would generate approximately $1.4 Million per year for the district to be used for operating expenses.

Speaking of the $6 Million annual loss in revenue, Superintendent Guy Parmigian said: "It was staggering that at a meeting of state officials this past October, no one around the table could think of another school district in state history who has lost the magnitude of revenue that Benton-Carroll-Salem is losing.  Our loss of revenue is simply unprecedented."  

Since operations began at Davis-Besse in 1977, residents of Benton-Carroll-Salem Schools have enjoyed exceptionally low tax rates due to the property values at the plant.  In fact, currently, B-C-S residents pay the lowest taxes of any school district in Northwest Ohio.

The Board has taken a fiscally conservative approach over the past 6 years and will continue this into the future.  For example, payroll expenses in 2018 are the same as they were in 2012.  The Board has taken the position that it evaluates every vacancy that comes open due to retirement or resignation, and makes a decision on replacing the position.  In the summer of 2017 alone, the Board reduced teaching positions, a maintenance position, and a bus mechanic position for a savings of $406,000.  These efficiency measures will continue, but the magnitude of the $6 Million annual loss of revenue means that the school district cannot cut its way out of the situation without drastically reducing educational opportunities for students.  

The Board has taken a proactive approach to the de-valuation.  It explored the possibility of challenging the de-valuation of Davis-Besse.  Unfortunately due to a change in law in 1989, the school district nor the county auditor can challenge a de-valuation once approved by the Ohio Department of Taxation.  The Board has also reached out personally by traveling to First Energy headquarters in Akron to meet with their corporate executives.  The Board asked First Energy for funding that would provide a short term "glide path" to adapt to the new financial reality due to the de-valuation and the loss of $4.6 Million overnight.  First Energy indicated that it was not interested in providing any kind of financial assistance to the school district.  The Board has also lobbied to halt or slow the phase out of the PUTPP payments from the state.

The Board has also advocated strongly for some financial assistance from the State of Ohio to help the school district adapt to the catastrophic losses.  The Board, Treasurer, and Superintendent have worked closely Rep. Steve Arndt and Sen. Randy Gardner on coming up with a plan since the district was notified of the possible de-valuation in the spring of 2017.  On January 23, 2018 the Board met in a work session with Arndt and Gardner at the Statehouse in Columbus to discuss a draft plan from the state.  While the work on this draft plan continues, the Board has been told that financial help from the state would only be for a period of three years and cover only a fraction of the loss due to de-valuation.  Any type of financial help from the state would have to be voted on and approved by the General Assembly, and this approval will be "difficult" and "challenging" according to Gardner and Arndt.  The district looks to know an answer on financial assistance from the state this spring.

INFORMATIONAL MEETINGS

The Board will be hosting two informational community meetings on the two ballot issues that will be before voters.  The dates are Monday, February 26 at 6:00 PM and Thursday, March 22 at 5:30 PM at the Oak Harbor High School Auditorium.

GUIDE ON SCHOOL DISTRICT INCOME TAXES

Click the link below for a guide published by the Ohio Department of Taxation concerning school district income taxes:

https://www.tax.ohio.gov/portals/0/tax_analysis/tax_data_series/school_district_data/sditqa.pdf

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

 Click Here for the Frequently Asked Questions

 

VOTING INFORMATION

Election day is May 8, 2018.  Absentee Voting (Early Voting) begins on April 10, 2018 at the Ottawa County Board of Elections office located at 8444 West SR 163 in Oak Harbor (just west of the county fairground).  Voters can show up in person at their office at the following times:

Monday through Friday from April 10 through April 27 from 8--5.  From Monday, April 30 through Friday, May 4 the Board of Elections is open from 8--7 for early voting.  On Saturday, May 5 they are open from 8--4; on Sunday, May 6 they are open from 1--5;  and on Monday, May 7 they are open from 8--2.