Wednesday, January 9th, 2013
By Amy Kronenberger
Board will not ask voters for increased levy
  CELINA - School board members will not ask voters to increase an income tax that expires at the end of this year.
Board members during a special meeting Monday passed a resolution to ask voters in May to renew the income tax levy that collects approximately $2.175 million annually.
Treasurer Mike Marbaugh last month recommended increasing the levy to help prevent a possible future deficit. However, board members on Monday chose otherwise.
"We think we can get the budget back in shape with just a renewal," board president Matt Gilmore said. "It'll take work, but the last thing we want to do is raise taxes."
Marbaugh said he will send the resolution to the Ohio Department of Taxation, who will certify it and set a percentage that will bring in approximately the same amount as currently collected.
"This resolution is identical to the one passed five years ago," he said. "This will be to renew the current income tax levy."
In 2008, Celina voters approved a five-year, 0.75 percent income tax for school operating costs. Marbaugh said the percentage could increase or decrease depending on income within the district.
"Income tax is based on income. We've been collecting more than $2.175 million, more like $2.2 to $2.3 (million)," Marbaugh said. "It's a percent of income, so whatever income is, is what it generates."
The district also has a $4.9 million property tax levy that expires at the end of 2016. If the board has not gotten a handle on the budget by then, they could consider an increase with its renewal, Gilmore said.
Marbaugh's five-year financial forecast predicts a $2.4 million deficit by the end of fiscal year 2015 (June 30, 2015).
For fiscal year 2013, which ends June 30, Marbaugh expects expenditures to exceed revenue by $2.6 million, decreasing the cash balance from $9.1 million to $6.5 million. Fiscal year 2014 shows expenditures at $30.6 million and revenue at $26.7 million, decreasing the cash balance to $2.6 million.
The cash balance is depleted in fiscal year 2015. The deficit grows to $9.1 million by the end of fiscal year 2016 and $17.1 million by the end of 2017.
The deadline to certify the levy with the board of elections for the May 7 primary ballot is Feb 6. The board plans to have a special meeting to vote on the final levy language prior to the deadline. The next regular meeting is 6 p.m. Feb. 18 at the Celina Education Complex.
In other action, the board,
• listened to a presentation from East elementary student council members. Seven students took turns describing the various projects and events they organize, including Red Ribbon Week, volunteering, canned food drives and fundraisers.
• received certificates of appreciation for their service in honor of school board recognition month.
• learned calamity days are counted for each building and not the whole district. East has used four calamity days while the rest of the buildings have used three. If East uses more than five days, they likely will add hours to their days at the end of the year instead of using a make-up day while the other buildings are closed.
• learned various teachers will be awarded $100 grants for use in their classrooms.
• approved Matt Gilmore as board president and Cindy Piper as vice president for 2013.
• approved the resignation of custodian Robert Rausch, effective Jan. 17.
• removed from the policy book the declaration of assistance or non-assistance to a terrorist organization.
• approved a donation to the automotive class of tools worth $12,001 from Kerns Ford, St. Marys.
• approved an annual resolution accepting existing levies for 2013 as certified by Mercer County Auditor Randy Grapner.
• approved various contract changes.
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