Fall levy will be four years, council decides
Grandview Heights City Council voted at a special meeting Monday night, July 30, to make the replacement levy the city will place on the November ballot a four-year measure.
Council will vote to place the levy on the ballot at its regular meeting Monday, Aug. 6.
The levy will be for 7.5 mills, with 6.5 mills providing operating funds and 1 mill set aside for street improvement projects.
The levy will replace the current 8.3-mill operating levy, which will expire at the end of the year.
Director of Finance Bob Dvoraczky said the county auditor has certified the levy would produce estimated property tax revenue of $1,884,474.68 -- about the same amount as the projections he presented to council had shown.
The finance committee had recommended council approve a four-year combined levy. Council first had been presented with two separate levy proposals: one for a five-year operating levy and the other for a permanent measure to fund street improvements.
At this week's meeting, council member Milt Lewis again made a motion to reduce the levy to three years, the traditional length for city operating levies.
The motion failed 5-2, with Lewis and council member Steve Gladman casting the only votes in favor.
A four-year levy will take the city to a point where it will turn the corner in its finances and begin to see a surplus in its annual budget, council member P'Elizabeth Koelker said.
Dvoraczky has projected that with the levy, the city would continue to operate at a deficit through 2014, see a small surplus in 2015 and then have a $469,000 surplus in 2016.
Another advantage of opting for a four-year levy is that the measure would follow the presidential election cycle, when voter turnout is generally much higher, Koelker said.
A three-year levy would collect the same amount of revenue as would a renewal levy in the fourth year, Lewis said.
The shorter time span would give voters a chance to monitor whether the levy performs as expected and make a correction sooner if it falls short of expectations, he said.
The city's levies traditionally have been three-year measures and "that seems a reasonable way to do it," Lewis said.
Lewis also made a motion to shorten the measure to three years at council's July 16 meeting and council deadlocked with a 3-3 vote. Council member Susan Jagers was out of town and unable to attend the meeting.
Council member Ed Hastie voted in favor of Lewis' motion July 16, but voted against it at this week's meeting.