UPDATED BLOG: Perkins School Levy (with response from Perkins Superintendent)

Bryan Dubois
Oct 3, 2010

Allright, back to a local issue:

I'm being told by people who know people that this construction levy will allow the Perkins school board to raise taxes on Perkins residents at any time - without taking it to the community for a vote.  This will be possible because of the type of levy being proposed.  I'm told that this fact is not being made public for obvious reasons.

Is this true?

I've read through all the commentary under the articles on the Register - but don't see this mentioned anywhere.

Mostly, the pro-levy people are pushing this project to take advantage of federal money.  I don't see any explanation on how Perkins will afford to pay for long-term maintenance, utility, custodial support for the facility...

A message to disrespectful commenters (you know who you are):

What's with all the disrespect toward people who are asking honest questions about this issue?   If I were working on that levy campaign, I'd be tracking you down to tell you to knock it off.  I'd want this levy to pass or fail on its own merits - not because the water was muddied up by so-called supporters like you.  

Anyway, here's the exchange between myself and Perkins Superintendent Jim Gunner:

Gunner's response:

Bryan,

The direct answer is no, this is not true, but the complete answer is much more complicated.  The Perkins Board, nor any other school board in the State of Ohio, has the right to increase taxes at will without a vote of the community. 

 

What we have explained at public meetings will happen is the Perkins School District’s tax rate for continuous operating millage will be at the 20-mil floor.  Because a school system at the 20-mil floor is no longer subject to the effects of HB920 tax rate reductions, this may cause a homeowner’s overall school taxes paid to increase every three years after a reevaluation or triennial update if their property increases in value.  This potential modest increase in actual taxes paid every three years is not a result of the school board being arbitrarily able to increase taxes, but a reflection of the interaction of HB920 and the 20-mil floor permitting some inflationary growth in taxes collected when property valuations in a community grow.

With that said, there are certain circumstances, where legislation permits school districts to collect growth on increased total valuation in a community versus the traditional roll back of tax millage to collect the same total dollar amount across the community.  To explain this situation requires an understanding of HB920 passed in mid-1970s and another term called the 20-mil floor. 

HB920 was passed during a period of very high inflation, in many cases inflation rates annually exceeding 10%.  Prior to HB920 if the value of your house increased from one tax year to the next, you paid an overall increase in taxes equivalent to the increased value of your property times the tax rate at the time.  HB920 stopped this inflationary growth in property taxes.  Instead, HB920 required the county auditor to decrease the overall tax rate in a community to collect the same total dollars for the school district.  Thus limiting the inflationary growth in revenue for schools and requiring significantly more tax levies before a school community to keep up with inflationary costs.  Two exceptions to HB920 do apply: new construction and “Inside Millage”.  Districts receive the value of new construction the first time it is added to the tax duplicate, but in subsequent years it is part of the overall valuation of the community and subject to HB920.  A school district’s “Inside Millage” is not subject to HB920.  Property owners pay inflationary growth on this small millage that was originally given to school districts to operate without a vote of local communities during the 1800s.  In Perkins case, this is the 5.2 mils the Board of Education proposes to move to a construction fund for the new campus, if the community approves the November Levy.

HB920 comes in conflict with another portion of Ohio Revised Code when a district’s overall continuous operating millage reaches the 20-mil floor.  By law, a school community must assess itself a minimum of 20 mils of continuous operating levies for the general operation of a school district.  When a school district is at the 20-mil floor, the reduction of tax rates imposed by HB920 no longer applies.  In this case, as a house value increases in the community, the homeowner does not gain the reduction of millage rate normally associated with HB920, and as a result pays taxes on the increased value of their house as if HB920 was never approved by the legislature.  Over 60% of the school districts in the State of Ohio are at the 20-mil floor for continuous operating school levies.  If the November levy passes, and the Board moves the 5.2 mils of “Inside Millage” to a construction fund, Perkins will be at the 20-mil floor as well.

So what does this mean for the homeowner of Perkins?  That is best illustrated through examples. 

Let’s examine three cases where the overall community’s valuation increased by 2% from one year to the next during a tax reevaluation. The Perkins District current assessed valuation for residential and agricultural property is $270,000,000 with a continuous operating tax rate of approximately 25.2 mils which brings in $270,000,000 x .0252 = $6,804,000 before the homestead and primary residence reductions of 2-1/2% and 10% respectively.

A 2% increase in residential & agricultural property values means the district’s total valuation in this area would now equal $270,000,000 x 1.02 = $275,400,000.  Now the district by HB920 is entitled to the same $6,804,000 in revenue.  So the county auditor calculates a new overall tax rate or millage: $6,804,000 / $275,400,000 = 24.7 mils.  Everyone individual’s property is now assessed a rate of 24.7 mils, a decrease in the tax rate of approximately 0.5 mils as a result of the increased overall value in the community and HB920.

But what does that mean for the individual taxpayer?  Let’s look at the examples below:  Homeowner A actually saw no increase in the value of his/her home.  Homeowner B saw a 2% increase equal to the rate of increase for the overall community, and finally Homeowner C saw a 5% increase in the value of his property a higher rate than the overall community.

Homeowner A                             Homeowner B                             Homeowner C

$100,000 value                            $100,000 value                            $100,000 value

No Increase                                 2% increase in Value                  5% increase in value

Taxes Paid by each Homeowner before the Reevaluation for each homeowner:

$100,000        Market Value

       x   .35       Multiplied by 35% to calculate Assessed Value

$  35,000        Assessed Value of Home

    x .0252       Rate of Taxation

$        882       Taxes before Homestead (2.5%) and Primary Resident (10%) Exemptions

      x  .875       Reduction of taxes due to Homestead and Primary Resident Exemption

$ 771.75         Actual Taxes paid by all three homeowners before the reevaluation process.

Taxes Paid by each Homeowner AFTER the Reevaluation for each homeowner with HB920 in place.

Homeowner A:

$100,000        Market Value

       x   .35       Multiplied by 35% to calculate Assessed Value

$  35,000        Assessed Value of Home

    x .0247       New Rate of Taxation

$   864.50       Taxes before Homestead (2.5%) and Primary Resident (10%) Exemptions

      x  .875       Reduction of taxes due to Homestead and Primary Resident Exemption

$   756.44       Actual Taxes paid by Homeowner A after the reevaluation process.

Homeowner A would pay $771.75 - $756.44 = $15.31 LESS in taxes even though the value of their house remained the same.

Homeowner B:

$102,000        Market Value increased by 2%

       x   .35       Multiplied by 35% to calculate Assessed Value

$  35,700        Assessed Value of Home

    x .0247       New Rate of Taxation

$        882       Taxes before Homestead (2.5%) and Primary Resident (10%) Exemptions

      x  .875       Reduction of taxes due to Homestead and Primary Resident Exemption

$   771.75       Actual Taxes paid by Homeowner B after the reevaluation process..

Homeowner B would pay $771.75 - $771.75 = $0 increase in taxes because this house increased at the exact same rate as the rest of the community.

Homeowner C:

$105,000        Market Value increased by 5%

       x   .35       Multiplied by 35% to calculate Assessed Value

$  36,750        Assessed Value of Home

    x .0247       New Rate of Taxation

$   907.72       Taxes before Homestead (2.5%) and Primary Resident (10%) Exemptions

      x  .875       Reduction of taxes due to Homestead and Primary Resident Exemption

$   794.26       Actual Taxes paid by Homeowner C after the reevaluation process.

Homeowner C would pay $794.26 - 771.75 = $22.51 MORE in taxes because their house increased in value greater than the overall increase in the community.

In the HB920 example, taxes are shifted from homes with no growth to homes that grow in value at a pace faster than the community overall.  Everyone’s house is treated independently depending on the individual growth versus the growth of the community at large.

What happens if a district is at the 20-mil floor? 

Let’s do the same calculations again, but this time assume the original tax rate is 20 mils before the reevaluation of property in a community.

Let’s examine the same three cases where the overall community’s valuation increased by 2% from one year to the next during a tax reevaluation. The Perkins District current assessed valuation for residential and agricultural property is $270,000,000 within this example an assumed continuous operating tax rate of 20.0 mils, or at the 20-mil floor, which would bring in $270,000,000 x .0200 = $5,400,000 before the homestead and primary residence reductions of 2-1/2% and 10% respectively.

A 2% increase in residential & agricultural property values means the district’s total valuation in this area would now equal $270,000,000 x 1.02 = $275,400,000.  Since the district is as the 20-mil floor in this example, the county auditor does not adjust the tax rate by the increased value.  Instead, every taxpayer’s household is assessed at the same 20-mil rate as before.

But what does that mean for the individual taxpayer?  Let’s look at the examples below:  Homeowner A actually saw no increase in the value of his/her home.  Homeowner B saw a 2% increase equal to the rate of increase for the overall community, and finally Homeowner C saw a 5% increase in the value of his property a higher rate than the overall community.

Homeowner A                             Homeowner B                             Homeowner C

$100,000 value                            $100,000 value                            $100,000 value

No Increase                                 2% increase in Value                  5% increase in value

Taxes Paid by each Homeowner before the Reevaluation for each homeowner:

$100,000        Market Value

       x   .35       Multiplied by 35% to calculate Assessed Value

$  35,000        Assessed Value of Home

    x .0200       Rate of Taxation

$        700       Taxes before Homestead (2.5%) and Primary Resident (10%) Exemptions

      x  .875       Reduction of taxes due to Homestead and Primary Resident Exemption

$   612.50       Actual Taxes paid by each homeowner before the reevaluation process.

Taxes Paid by each Homeowner AFTER the Reevaluation for each homeowner if the district is at the 20-mil floor.

Homeowner A:

$100,000        Market Value

       x   .35       Multiplied by 35% to calculate Assessed Value

$  35,000        Assessed Value of Home

    x .0200       Rate of Taxation – No Change

$   700.00       Taxes before Homestead (2.5%) and Primary Resident (10%) Exemptions

      x  .875       Reduction of taxes due to Homestead and Primary Resident Exemption

$   612.50       Actual Taxes paid by Homeowner A after the reevaluation process.

Homeowner A would pay the exact same taxes before and after as their house did not grow in value.

Homeowner B:

$102,000        Market Value increased by 2%

       x   .35       Multiplied by 35% to calculate Assessed Value

$  35,700        Assessed Value of Home

    x .0200       Rate of Taxation

$  714.00        Taxes before Homestead (2.5%) and Primary Resident (10%) Exemptions

      x  .875       Reduction of taxes due to Homestead and Primary Resident Exemption

$   624.75       Actual Taxes paid by all Homeowner B after the reevaluation process.

Homeowner B would pay $624.75 - $612.50 = $12.25 MORE in taxes because this house increased in value during the reappraisal process and HB920 does not apply to roll back the tax rate when the district is at the 20-mil floor.

Homeowner C:

$105,000        Market Value increased by 5%

       x   .35       Multiplied by 35% to calculate Assessed Value

$  36,750        Assessed Value of Home

    x .0200       Rate of Taxation

$   735.00       Taxes before Homestead (2.5%) and Primary Resident (10%) Exemptions

      x  .875       Reduction of taxes due to Homestead and Primary Resident Exemption

$   643.12       Actual Taxes paid by Homeowner C after the reevaluation process.

Homeowner C would pay $643.12 – 612.50 = $30.62 MORE in taxes because this house increased in value during the reappraisal process and HB920 does not apply to roll back the tax rate when the district is at the 20-mil floor.

A district at the 20-mil floor sees all households treated the same.  The actual tax rate remains the same (20 mils), the tax dollars an individual homeowner pays increases or decreases with the value of their house.  There is no comparison against the community’s overall property increase.

I know this is a lengthy and complicated explanation, but school tax law is complicated.  The district should see some growth in taxes as a result of inflationary growth in property values in the community and by being at the 20-mil floor, but the Board of Education cannot arbitrarily or at its whim increase the taxes without a vote of the community.

I hope this helps…if not, please contact me for further explanation.

My contact information for anyone on your blog who wants to know is the following:

Jim Gunner

1210 E. Bogart Road

Sandusky, Ohio 44870

jgunner@perkinsschools.org

(419) 625-0484 Office

(419) 450-3728 Cell

Please feel free to share this explanation and contact information.  Also, I would invite you and any other community member who has more questions to come to one or more of the Question & Answer sessions the levy committee is hosting. They are to be held as follows:

Saturday, October 9th @ 9:00 am – Perkins Restaurant back room on US 250

Tuesday, October 12th @ 7:00 pm – Perkins High School Room 805

Wednesday, October 20th @ 12:00 noon – Matt & Chet’s Pizza, Strub Road

Thanks for your inquiry.

Jim

 

Comments

Azure Ray

Mr. Dubois:

ALRIGHT.  (One L)

Why don't you ask Mr. Gunner or the Perkins School Board?  I realize that you are doing this so you can see what type of drama....oops, I mean RESPONSES you can pull up on here.  If you want to know something that small and specific, I'm sure that you can get your answer straight from the source and not waste your time picking through the horse crap that usually makes its way onto the Register's online blogs.

Bryan Dubois

I'd love to but I don't see any contact info for Gunner on the Perkins schools website.  I don't suppose you've got his number?

Azure Ray

 In this day and age, go for the email.  It is the most efficient, and is listed right on the school's website:  JGunner@perkinsschools.org.  

 

Or if you'd like to wait until Monday, here is the phone number: 419-625-0484.   Ask for Mr.  Gunner.  Number was at the top of Perkins Local School's website.

Bryan Dubois

I don't have time during the week.  I work full time and have 5 kids.  That's why I asked publicly in case anyone knew already. People who know about this issue are reading the paper.  Some are vocal, such as yourself.  Other stays silent.

When I said "phone number" I meant Gunner's home phone number.  The Perkins school district's phone number is plainly posted on the website.  The business line does me no good as I work during business hours.  Accessibility is the issue here - as it is for most Perkins voters who work.

Email will likely go ignored.  I'll try it.  We'll see what happens...

Pastor Ron

I pray that one day Mr. Dubois will someday get the education and wisdom to be an actual journalist instead of a drive by pot shot artist that he is comfortable being.  The fact that the number could be found by any 3rd grader with a computer only proves that point.  My prayers will continue but don't expect any miracles.

Azure Ray

 Yea, it wouldn't hurt to give email a shot.  Why not try calling during your lunch break?  I'll try to call over my lunch break on Monday and see what I can dig up on this rumor.  I've made plenty of business calls that were unrelated to my job over my lunch.  

samiam

On the little postcard received in the mail this week regarding the school levy, it is stated that the township would share facilities with the school district.  Township trustees stated at their last meeting that it was not a done deal, but was being considered.  So who's lying and who's telling the truth?

Bryan Dubois

I have limited free time at work.  I'm not able to make business calls.  I emailed Mr. Gunner.  If he responds, I'll share it with you all.

"Pastor Ron," of which church are you a pastor?

MrSandusky

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained libelous or defamatory statements. Discussion Guidelines

Bryan Dubois

BTW:  Azure, you posted a bad email address for Mr. Gunner.

The correct email address can be found in the staff directory on the website:

JGunner@perkins.k12.oh.us

Probably not your fault, as it's probably listed wrong wherever you found it on the website.  Should be corrected promptly, and in my opinion all administrators should have home or cell phones listed.

Kelly

Why would Mr. Gunner want his home number published? Kids would be prank calling him & whackjobs would be harassing him at all hours. His family deserves some privacy.

Bryan Dubois

Kelly, not likely.  Gunner is a public servant and should be accessible.  Do the Sandusky city commissioners get pranked just because they have their phone numbers published on the city website

No.

Privacy has nothing to do with accessibility.

Bryan Dubois

Azure,  it doesn't look like the email option is going to work.

Neither address works.

An email sent to Jim Gunner at the listed address on the Perkins website gets this response:

Email sent to the updated address gets this response:

No phone number listed, no valid email address.

citizen

Azure Ray:

On which planet do you live?  The Perkins School Board being able to RAISE TAXES ON CITIZENS AT ANYTIME IN THE FUTURE WITHOUT A VOTE, I would suggest, is the furthest thing from "something that small and specific."  I'm hoping that was just an emotional response from you because you want this new tax levy to pass no matter the cost and you REALLY don't believe that the School Board being able to raise taxes whenever they want to without a vote is just "something small and specific."  Again, REALLY? 

If this new tax levy passes...along with the high-spending, high-taxing liberals in Washington right now...all of our checkbooks are in for a world of hurt.

outsider

 "On November 2,2010, voters in Perkins Local District will be ask to approve a 4.98 fixed sum operating levy for a five year period. This levy will allow the construction of new facilities and provide fiscal stability for the operations of the district for the next 5 years."

This is the lead sentence in the propaganda provided the public . How do you fund a 100 million dollar project on 4.98 mils for only 5 years? Something is missing. Like all the needed information to make an informed decision.

"Once in a lifetime opportunity!" 

This is the second sentence of the propaganda. Do you feel like you are being conned by a slick used car salesman? Mr. Gunner does not live in the district. Mr. Gunner tried to leave the Perkins superintendent's job a few days after accepting the position. Do you really trust this man with deciding your taxes for  schools the next 30 years?

Hey Ray Ray, I'm back. Did we meet at the State of the Schools meeting? I was there...were you? I've ask a member of the administration to present me all the financial details of "Folly at the Fountain" and I'm still awaiting an answer. My guess is they hope to avoid me until after the election.

 

 

 

 

Common Sense

Mr. DuBois:

If you are interested in having your question answered, another suitable way is to attend the board of education meetings which occur regularly in the evening. This allows day workers, such as yourself, to attend and become informed.

Also, should you have any difficulty reaching Dr. Gunner with a specific question due to e-mail, may I suggest that you contact the board members themselves at the address located on the Perkins Schools website. Their e-mail address is simply a click on the mouse.

Perhaps, your approach to this matter should have been to use the "common sense" method by considering other options when the first did not seem to work to your advantage.

Bryan Dubois

Common Sense:  Pointing out that the super's email address is a non-functioning address doesn't mean I'm done seeking answers.  Don't you think the superintendent should have a working email address posted on the website?

By the way:  Is it common sense to sit through a board meeting just to ask a specific question about the upcoming levy?  That's why we have phone numbers and email addresses.  I don't have time to attend every public meeting to "become informed" about every issue I'm curious.   I doubt anyone else who works full time and is raising a family has time either.

 Underthebridge, you've heard this rumor too?  Might be something the administration would want to clear up if it's not true.  I'm concerned about it and glad to hear you and other are too.

EZOB

     Does anyone think this huge building isn't going to cost extra to operate??   Many of our homes are older than the school.  Let's all tear them down and rebuild.  Heck, if I'm made to pay for a new school why don't I deserve a brand new house?   I've been to the meetings and asked questions.   I'm  saying that Gunner never impressed me.  I'm not saying he's a bad guy, I just don't understand how he impressed the people who hired him.  It's their judgement that I seriously question. 

underthebridge

I'm not sure how the BOE can raise taxes on anything, but I've heard that rumor too.  I do know that every five years, the BOE will ask for a renewal of this levy.  No one has asked what will happen if any one of those levies fail?  Construction for new facilities will continue, but the district will not have the funds to operate?   What will happen then?   I was at a meeting in which Dr. Gunner explained that it about 10 yrs, the tax breaks that were given to Menards and Kalahari will expire and the district will have that money too.   Would that be an adequate amount to money for construction then?  

underthebridge

 @ Pastor Ron - nothing is more artificial than a person who disguises insults as prayer. 

Marty

Why am I being asked to pay for what someone else wants. Because they do not have the money? This is crazy. PAY FOR WHAT YOU WANT YOURSELF.

Azure Ray

 Clearly, no one here has been able to answer your question.  Looks like you might have to go directly to the source.  Perkins schools switched over their email system recently, perhaps you will have to call over your lunch.  I highly doubt that you have NO time to make phone calls during the day.  If you have time to heat up a hot pocket or sit on the toilet, you can make a call.  There are numerous meetings that address the levy and if you are a truly interested citizen, you will MAKE time (just like everyone else).  You have the option to create a blog on the Register's page - not everyone can be "so lucky."  Calling the board / emailing the board is NOT out of the question - they want this passed, too.  That is why they are there.  Do you work in the area, take your lunch up to the board office and ask in person.  There are lots of ways - you make it seem impossible.  

Azure Ray

 Citizen:  by "small and specific" I simply meant that it was a yes or no question.  It's not like the question posed requires a lot of explanation....I understand the importance of a board being able to just up and change the amount of money that tax payers will be spending.  I highly doubt that this is the case.   

bao

another interesting note not made public, they are going after non tax paying college students on facebook with voter registration and an absentee ballot.  apparently they do not feel this levy will pass on its own merit.

Massengill Wins...

Finally an honest statement by the faux columnist from the Register.  Dubois says:

I don't have time to attend every public meeting to "become informed" about every issue I'm curious.

Strange he don't have time to get informed but has time to write his nonsense.  Thanks for the morning laugh Bryan!  You really cleared things up.

Bryan Dubois

That's right.  Because I have a family and full time job.  I have time to get involved - but it has to be on my own time.  You take my words out of context, Massengill!

Bao, interesting about the college students...can you message me with details?

eriemom

Dubois: Try typing the email address correctly, it will go through. These are always caps sensitive. I assume you do have time to do this.

eriemom

Dubois: Try typing the email address correctly, it will go through. These are always caps sensitive. I assume you do have time to do this.

Massengill Wins...

Thank goodness that Mr. Dubois never takes anything out of context.  Pretty funny he doesn't want to take credit for the most honest thing he has ever said on the blogs.

outsider

 Why can't the school administration put down in black and white the finances needed to fund this 100 million dollar building project? Why do they spend thousands of dollars sending out flashy propaganda with only information they want the taxpayers to read? Why do you have to go see a board member or an administrator to get the whole facts? What is wrong with giving the public the whole truth and letting them decide the project on it's merits? What are they trying to gloss over in regards to the finances?

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