Bexley voters may be asked to decide ballot issues for the city and the school district in November.

Bexley voters may be asked to decide ballot issues for the city and the school district in November.

At the city council finance committee meeting Feb. 23, finance director Beecher Hale said the city has a 3.4-mill continuing operating levy on the books. Due to the state's tax reduction factor -- which requires the effective millage of voted property tax levies to be reduced in proportion to rising property values -- the city is only collecting .6 of a mill, or about $303,000 a year.

Voters first approved the levy in 1975, and the city has asked voters to renew the levy every five years since then.

Hale noted that November is the last opportunity for the city to renew or replace the levy before it lapses.

"If we renew it, we keep getting $303,000," Hale said.

If the city replaces the levy, so it collects at the original 3.4 mills, the city would receive about $1.5-million a year.

If the levy expires or voters don't approve a renewal or replacement, the city would receive nothing.

"We need to make a decision by the first part of August," said council member Jed Morison. "This is not something I want to slip up on."

Mayor John Brennan said a decision should be made by July because council recesses in August. Service director Bill Harvey said council should make a decision in June because legislation requires three readings.

If council decides it wants to replace the levy -- and voters approve -- it would cost homeowners $104.13 per year for every $100,000 of home valuation, Hale said. Residents are currently paying $18.60 per $100,000 of valuation.

There is concern with going on the ballot in November because the Bexley school district also plans to have an initiative on the ballot, Brennan said. The school board has not determined if it should be an income tax or operating levy, and how much will be needed.

"I don't know how the schools will sell a levy in this economy," he said. "If we go after more money we could take the schools down and us down."

Superintendent Mike Johnson said he was concerned about the city and school district going on the ballot at the same time and that he couldn't recall it happening before.

"Everybody is going to have to keep both campaigns in mind," he said.

Brennan said council would study the issue before making a decision.

"We are always in a financial bind," he said. "It would be nice to get back to where we were. I don't know that the economy would stand for that."