COLUMBIANA - With enough in the fund to finish paying off all the district's building projects except the new performing arts center, Crestview's school board has voted to stop collecting on a bond issue passed by the community in 1992.
By stopping the collection of the money beginning in January 2014, the district will still have enough in the coffers to pay off and reduce the taxes of property owners by 1.72 mills. The levy was not scheduled to be taken off the books until 2016.
The board also voted last week to start collecting on the remaining 1.2 mills of inside millage and move that to the permanent improvement fund, which will help the district continue to maintain the buildings and other facilities. Inside millage, also known as unvoted-on millage, is provided in the state Constitution and is so named because it is "inside" the law.
"We have a beautiful facility and we want to keep it that way," said Superintendent John Dilling.
In addition, some of the district's property is getting older. A few years earlier, due to budget issues, the board decided to stop purchasing buses every year, instead buying a new one every other year. On the off years, textbooks were purchased instead.
However, with 14 buses, if the district continues to purchase one only every other year, the eldest bus will be 28 years old. Dilling said one required major work this year to allow it to pass inspection.
In January 2016 taxpayers will see an additional .50 mill maintenance levy disappear. The levy, which was passed with the original 1992 building project levy expires at that point and cannot be renewed.
According to Dilling, the net benefit to the taxpayer of the reductions and movement of the millage has been estimated at about $79 less in taxes for the owner of a $150,000 home.
Dilling said the original building project began after voters passed a 5.42 mill bond issue to build the new school in November 1992 and was used to construct the new high school, elementary school and make a major update to the middle school. Since then, the board was able to refinance the bond issue at a lower rate in 2003, saving $260,000 and allowing the board to reduce the millage at that point to 3.42 mills.
Low interest loans, grants and permanent improvement dollars have been used for other projects such as the stadium remodel, the metal roof and air conditioning in the middle school, the weight room and locker room project, a bus garage and the installation of newer high-efficiency lights in the buildings.
Despite all the additional projects, the school district reduced the millage again in 2010, this time by .50 mills leaving the district collecting only 2.92 mills.
In Ohio, schools are permitted a portion of their area's inside millage, which is not voted on. Outside millage are the bond issues passed by voters.