Voters approve Delaware City Schools, county 911 levies

Paul Comstock
ThisWeek

Delaware City School District voters have approved the district's 11.73-mill substitute continuing operating levy.

With all precincts reporting, voters approved the issue 11,532 votes to 7,902 votes, or 59.34% to 40.66%, according to unofficial results Nov. 3 from the Delaware County Board of Elections.

The issue won't increase taxes.

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Shari Baker, director of tax administration at the Delaware County Auditor's Office, on June 27 said the levy being replaced also is collected at 11.73 mills and costs homeowners $359 annually per $100,000 of property valuation.

The Nov. 3 levy will replace another substitute operating levy approved in 2010 at 10 mills.

Substitute levies allow the district to collect tax on new construction but leave unchanged the amount paid by existing homeowners, district officials have said.

The 2010 levy was designed to raise $9.4 million annually, representing 27% of the district's property-tax collections for operating expenses, the district said.

The 2010 issue replaced a 12.9-mill, five-year levy approved by voters in 2006 and expiring in 2011.

District communications director Jennifer Ruhe said the operating levy would be used to cover salaries and operating costs.

One expense that isn't connected with the levy is the district's program to upgrade all school buildings this year, Superintendent Heidi Kegley said.

That work is funded by a bond issue that voters approved in 2019.

County 911 levy gets voters’ nod

A renewal operating levy for Delaware County's 911 system was approved at the polls. 

With all precincts reporting, voters approved the issue 61,889 votes to 43,022 votes, or 58.99% to 41.01%, according to unofficial results Nov. 3 from the Delaware County Board of Elections.

The five-year levy renews the expiring 0.63-mill levy and adds 0.05 mill, for a total of 0.68 mill.

The current levy was approved in November 2016 as a renewal and increase from 0.45 mill to 0.63 mill. It's collecting at a total effective rate of 0.55 mill, according to the Delaware County Auditor's Office. Collection of the tax will begin in 2022. The levy will generate $4.5 million per year, according to the auditor's office.

Homeowners pay $17.63 annually per $100,000 of property value toward the current levy, which will expire at the end of 2021, according to the county. The levy's renewal will increase that by $1.75, for a $19.38 annual total. 

The levy will fund operation of the county's 911 center, which the public contacts by telephone or text message when first responders are needed during an emergency. 

It also will fund radio communication among first responders.

The police, fire and EMS departments in Delaware County communicate using more than 1,200 radios, all of them provided by the countywide 911 system.

The 911 levy also will allow upgrades to 12 radio-tower facilities scattered around the county that support the emergency communications network, said John Donahue, Delaware city fire chief and chairman of the 911 board.

All law-enforcement, emergency-medical and firefighting personnel in Delaware County depend on the radio towers to keep emergency communications operating, he said.

Check ThisWeekNEWS.com for updates on both issues later this week.

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