2009-08-08 / News

Lakewood levy on November ballot

By Scott Rawdon

HEBRON- Lakewood School Board members hope voters allow the district to recover more than $3 million in lost personal property revenues by approving an 8.9 mill operating levy in November.

Early July 29 morning, board members unanimously approved a resolution to place the five-year emergency levy on the ballot. If voters approve, Lakewood Treasurer Glenna Plaisted said it would raise $3,198,530. "It would help to replace the personal property revenues we're losing" as the personal property tax is phased out, she said.

Plaisted said the levy would cost the owner of a $100,000 house roughly $272 annually.

"If it doesn't pass, significant cuts will have to be made," said Superintendent Jay Gault. He said when voters approved a five-year renewal of a 5.8 mill emergency levy in March 2008 he knew the district would need to go back to the voters for additional funding.

"We held out as long as we could," said Gault. He said the district has been "flat-lined" on the funding it receives from the state since 2006. "Even though things are more expensive, the state doesn't give you any more money," said Gault, adding if the 8.9 mill levy passes in November, it will begin to benefit the district July 1, 2010.

Board members said during the July 8 board meeting that they believe an 8.9 mills levy would have a "psychological advantage" over a nine mill levy or higher, which might seem too steep for many voters.

The 5.8 mill emergency levy, which was first approved in 2003, was defeated November 2007 in addition to a plan to reduce the district's reliance on property taxes via a one percent income tax on just earned income. The proposed income tax would not have taxed Social Security, retirements, pensions, interest, dividends or capital gains.

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