July 25, 2016

Partly cloudy

Backup levy plan prepared

BRUNSWICK — Brunswick school officials are hoping for the best but preparing for the worst.

The school board Monday took the first step to place a 6.1-mill, eight-year renewal levy on the August special election ballot even though the same levy will be voted on in next month’s primary.

Superintendent Michael Mayell stressed that if the renewal passes in the May 6 primary, the issue will be removed from the August ballot.

“I want voters to understand this is the exact same language as the May renewal and if it passes in May, we’ll yank it off the August ballot,” Mayell said.

Mayell said waiting for the outcome of next month’s election wasn’t an option because the filing deadline for the Aug. 5 election was May 7, the day after the May 6 primary.

The tight schedule is the result of a 2010 change in state law that pushed the filing deadline from 75 to 90 days before an election.

“Because of the timeline, we have to start early,” Mayell said.

Mayell said that if the levy fails next month, the school board will convene a special meeting on May 7 to pass the second and final piece of legislation to put the levy before voters in August.

If it passes, it would collect $5.7 million annually and the mills would be adjusted each year based on property values.

Voters first approved the levy in 2004 and it was renewed in 2008.

If the levy passes, it’s expected to collect at a rate of about 6.1 mills in 2015. The old levy had been at 5.5 mills. Normally, renewal levies drop in millage over the years as housing prices go up. But Medina County Auditor Mike Kovack said the increase was because of the housing market crash.

Mayell said the priority is to pass the renewal levy before considering asking voters for new money.

The school is preparing to break even at the end of this school year but faces a deficit or cuts in the 2014-15 school year without new funds.

Brunswick voters rejected a two-year, 4.9-mill request for new money in November.

Mayell said the school board could choose to go back to the voters in November or May.

“It’s a choice. You can go on the ballot in November and ask for fewer mills because you can collect for another year, or you can wait until next May and ask for more mills,” he said. “That’s a decision board members will have to make. And that will be the topic for discussion as soon as we pass the renewal.”

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

Loren Genson About Loren Genson

Loren Genson was The Gazette's senior reporter. From August 2012 through September 2015, she covered Brunswick city and state and national government. To contact The Gazette, call the managing editor at (330) 721-4065.