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3 Local Govts Decrease Tax Rates
David Thomas
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3 Local Govts Decrease Tax Rates

County Budget Commission Lowers Local Millage Tax Rates

 

Jefferson- The Ashtabula County Budget Commission has reduced the property tax millage of one Ashtabula County school district, one village, and one township this past week during their final meeting of the year. Pymatuning Valley Schools’ Bond Levy will decrease by 1.7 Mills, Geneva on the Lake will not collect their 1.7 Mill Ambulance Bond, and the Austinburg Township Fire Truck Bond will decrease by .25 Mills for next year’s tax charges. 

“Each year we look at revenue from every Bond Levy and how that revenue compares with the need for each taxing district to make loan payments,” explained Auditor Thomas. “These three entities are at the point in their bond payments where we can decrease the tax charge to the property owner and they can still make payments.”

A decrease can occur because as values in taxing districts increase, the tax rate can decrease to bring in the same revenue for the entities. In Geneva on the Lake’s case though, the village was able to secure a USDA loan to cover 75% of the ambulance cost meaning no future property tax money was needed.

The Budget Commission is made up of the County Auditor, County Treasurer, and County Prosecutor who review local government budgets for revenues, expenditures, and tax rates. The Commission’s role is to ensure taxing districts show a need for the revenue they receive from property owners each year.

Thomas spoke with Pymatuning Valley Schools’ Treasurer Tom Brockway to discuss options for lowering the tax rate to property owners. The district though only has one additional year left on their bond and with current cash levels, Thomas and Brockway agreed that the Millage charged to property owners could be decreased to the lowest amount possible in the coming year.

“The financial leadership of Pymatuning Schools has been strong with their Board and Treasurer,” said Auditor Thomas. “This move essentially gives the taxpayers a year earlier to not be taxed on their school’s bond.”

The decrease in Millage applied to property owners means a savings of $60 per $100,000 of market value according to Thomas.

In July Thomas received a letter from Geneva on the Lake Mayor Dwayne Bennet requesting the Budget Commission not collect any further taxes on the village’s 1.7 Mill Ambulance Bond as Bennet’s administration was successful in securing funds through the USDA for the remaining amount needed to pay off the ambulance.

“I highly commend the Geneva on the Lake leadership for being creative to find resources instead of relying on the property owners to foot the entire bond payments,” explained Auditor Thomas. This decrease of 1.7 Mills means a savings of $60 per $100,000 of market value to property owners in 2023 according to Thomas.

Austinburg Township also saw a decrease occur from the Budget Commission for their bond levy for next year. Five years remains on the bond levy approved by voters currently at 1 Mill of taxed value. The township has $231,000 left to pay on their $500,000 Fire Truck Bond which began in 2017.

Thomas’ office spoke with Austinburg Township Fiscal Officer Kanda O’Dell about the remaining payments and balance and agreed with a .25 Mill decrease in the levy taxed on the property owners for next year. The property owners in the township will see .75 Mills assessed on their 2023 tax bills.

“This .25 Mill decrease will mean $12 in savings per $100,000 of property value in the township,” stated Auditor Thomas. “We will evaluate for the remaining five years of the bond and continue to see what the need is for payments and if we can decrease the tax rate again before the loan is up.”

The Budget Commission examined 10 local government bond and emergency levies to ensure a need for the charged amount on property owners to make loan payments for next year. Thomas explained that while Pymatuning Local Schools and Austinburg Township were the only two entities to see a decrease, other localities are being monitored and will likely see changes in the future.

 

 

(Pictured is left to right County Treasurer Angie Maki-Cliff, County Auditor David Thomas, Auditor Staff Member Kris Paolillo, and County Prosecutor Colleen O’Toole during their final Budget Commission Meeting.)

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