West Branch exploring two tax issues

BELOIT — The West Branch school board Thursday night sent two separate tax issues to be certified and will then seek public input before deciding which to put on the November ballot.

The board approved two resolutions of necessity — a property tax and an earned income tax — to generate approximately $850,000 annually for general operations. The property tax will be about 3.3 mills and the income tax is not yet determined. The levies will be sent to the Mahoning County Auditor’s Office to have the millage or tax rate certified.

Once the issues are certified by the auditor’s office, the board will hold a community forum to discuss the issues at 6 p.m., Monday, July 23, in the high school Auditorium to collect feedback from the public to help determine which levy to pursue on the November ballot. The forum will be videotaped and posted online for viewing. The board will also attempt to stream the forum via Facebook Live.

Tax issues must be submitted to the local board of elections by Aug. 8. The board will need to approve placing the issue on the ballot at its July 26 meeting in order to submit to the Mahoning County Board of Elections in time.

Only one of the two taxes will be placed on the ballot, with public input playing a role in which one.

The board is sending a new resolution regarding the property tax after approving one at its May meeting. School Treasurer David Drawl said the district’s attorney identified improper wording in the original one that would have been rejected by the board of elections, requiring a new on to be certified.

The board is seeking a levy due to a projected cash balance deficit in the near future. The most recent five-year financial forecast shows a growing deficit spending that projects to a cash balance deficit of nearly $663,000 in the fourth year and over $2.5 million in the final one.