Three years or four?
City Council divided on levy's length
Grandview Heights City Council members deadlocked Monday, July 16, on the question of whether a combination operating and street improvement levy request should last three or four years.
Council's finance committee voted July 9 to recommend the full council approve placing a four-year, 7.5-mill levy on the November ballot. One mill would be set aside solely for street improvement projects and 6.5 mills would be used as operating revenue.
The two components originally were planned as separate levies; the finance committee suggested council blend them into one.
At the July 16 meeting, council member Milt Lewis made a motion to limit the ballot measure to three years, which is the usual length of city levies.
The shorter duration would allow future councils the chance to determine sooner whether the measure, if approved by voters, were performing as projected and make any necessary adjustments to potential future ballot measures, Lewis said.
Council members Steve Gladman and Ed Hastie joined Lewis in voting in favor of his motion. Council members Anthony Panzera, P'Elizabeth Koelker and Steve Reynolds voted against it, resulting in a 3-3 tie.
Council member Susan Jagers was out of town and unable to attend the meeting.
The levy, according to Director of Finance Bob Dvoraczky's projections, would give the city a small budget surplus in 2015 (its third year) and a $469,000 surplus in 2016 (its fourth year.)
The "turning the corner" aspect of a four-year levy "is nice to see," Koelker said.
The finance committee decided to recommend a four-year levy because it is projected to bring a desired result, including ultimately meeting Dvoraczky's goal of making sure the city has at least 90 to 100 days of cash on hand, she said.
The 6.5 mills set aside for operating revenue would generate an anticipated $410,000 for the general fund each year.
The 1 mill would generate a projected $251,000 for street improvement projects.
According to Dvoraczky's projections, a 7.5-mill levy would cost the owner of a home with an average market value of $266,343 an additional $262.32 in property taxes each year.
The annual increase per $100,000 market value would be $98.49, Dvoraczky said.
Those numbers are pending certification by the county auditor, he said.
Since the length of the levy request is still to be determined, council did not vote this week on placing a measure on the ballot.
Council did approve a resolution declaring the necessity of the levy and asking the county auditor to certify the resolution and the dollar amounts that would be generated by both a three- and four-year levy.
City Attorney Joelle Khouzam said she is not sure whether the auditor's office would accept a resolution asking for dollar estimates for two different levy durations.
If the auditor's office sends the resolution back, council can reconvene and approve two separate resolutions, she said.
Council tentatively agreed to hold a special meeting July 30 to continue discussions regarding the levy proposal, with the expectation of holding a vote on a final levy package at its regular meeting Aug. 6.
The deadline for filing a ballot measure for the November election is Aug. 8.