Waterford to ask for levy renewal

WATERFORD –Taking its place on the ballot for the third time this May will be a renewal emergency tax levy for the Wolf Creek Local school district that would generate $781,927 a year.

“The first time voters passed this was in 2007,” said District Superintendent Doug Baldwin. “At the time its millage was at 6.14 mills and then when it was renewed in 2012 that was at 5.76 mills.”

The money garnered from the levy each year has covered approximately 10 percent of the district’s $7.3 million budget.

“This is not new money being levied,” Baldwin explained to the district’s board Monday. “We are currently collecting this same amount each year and need it to continue to do what we already do in our schools.”

If the levy passes in May it would take effect in 2018, and be for 4.64 mills per dollar of property valuation. That means a homeowner with property valued at $100,000 who is currently paying $201.60 a year and will have that amount decrease to $162.40 with the renewal.

The reason the millage has gone down is because property values have gone up within the past two years due to public utilities upgrades.

“With the loss of the AEP plant when it closed in May of 2015, the utility companies needed to reroute how they were sending their power to continue meeting demand,” explained Board President Hugh Arnold.

Rachel Miller, the district’s treasurer, added that with the rerouting, many new poles and lines were installed as were substations throughout the district.

With the upgrade in utilities, the land values went up.

Meanwhile Baldwin said he is anxiously awaiting the meeting of the state’s board of tax appeals concerning the back taxes owed by Muskingum River Development LLC, which purchased the former AEP plant in September of 2015.

“They’re arguing that the land was worth nothing when they bought it, but the land’s value was assessed at the beginning of the year and AEP had prorated the taxes up until they sold the plant,” said Baldwin. “AEP was always a good neighbor and held up their end of the bargain.”

Baldwin said the appeal will be heard in March by the state board and that he plans to attend.

At a glance:

¯ A renewal emergency tax levy will appear on the May 2 ballot for those living in Palmer, Watertown and Waterford townships.

¯ If it passes it would take effect in 2018 and be for 4.64 mills per dollar of property valuation.

¯ The current levy is 5.64 mills, meaning a homeowner with property valued at $100,000 is currently paying $201.60 a year and that amount will decrease to $162.40 with the renewal.

Source: Doug Baldwin, superintendent of Wolf Creek Local Schools.