October 21, 2014

Medina
Cloudy
48°F

Brunswick Schools seeks renewal levy instead of new money

BRUNSWICK — School board members are focusing their efforts on passing a renewal levy this spring, rather than asking for new money.

Last week, board members voted to move ahead with putting a renewal levy that would collect $5.7 million annually on the ballot for the May 6 primary election.

Voters rejected a request for a new levy in November. Board members had asked for a two-year, 4.9-mill levy to make up the difference in what the district was getting in the state’s two-year budget.

“We’re just going for the renewal in the spring,” board President Richard Nowak said. “We thought that trying to replace the levy that failed and pass the renewal would be too difficult and we need this renewal to pass.”

Voters originally passed the levy in 2004. It was for five years and it was renewed by voters in 2008 for another five years commencing in 2009. The renewal on the May ballot is an eight-year levy and would replace the five-year levy that expires in December.

Because it’s an emergency levy, it would collect $5.7 million annually and the mills would be adjusted each year based on property values. The estimated millage for next year is 6.1 mills. The previous levy was an estimated 5.5 mills and the first levy, passed in 2004, was 6.7 mills.

Normally, renewal levies tend to see a drop in mills over the years as housing prices go up, but Medina County Auditor Mike Kovack said the increase over 2008 was because of the housing market crash.

Kovack said property values are turning around, but because they haven’t rebounded back to their earlier rates, voters will see an increase in the mills on this year’s renewal.

“It’s absolutely because property values have dropped,” he said. “We’ve seen prices go up forever, but this Great Recession is the first time they’ve dropped since 1972.”

Nowak and Brunswick Treasurer Patrick East said they would wait until the end of the district’s fiscal year in June to decide whether the board should ask for additional money in November.

“We’ll have to see where we’ll be and what we’re going to get from the state,” Nowak said.

Contact reporter Loren Genson at (330) 721-4063 or lgenson@medina-gazette.com.