Delaware schools’, county’s leaders appreciative of levy approvals

Paul Comstock
ThisWeek

The approval of the renewal levies for the Delaware City Schools and Delaware County's 911 system have brought the appreciation of the leaders who’ve been counting on them.

Voters approved the schools issue 11,531 votes to 7,901 votes, or 59.3% to 40.6%, according to unofficial results from the Delaware County Board of Elections on Nov. 3.

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Voters approved the 911 levy 61,889 votes to 43,022 votes, or 58.9% to 41%, in the unofficial results.

"The levy committee and our staff worked hard to educate our Delaware residents of the importance of this renewal levy. We are incredibly grateful that we can continue to count on this critical funding to support our daily operations," said Heidi Kegley, schools superintendent.

"My team and I would like to thank the voters of Delaware County for their continued support of our operation. The 911 center staff is a hard-working dedicated team that is always here to help a resident, guest or visitor in their time of need," said county emergency-communications director Patrick Brandt. 

The school district's 11.73-mill substitute continuing operating levy won't increase taxes.

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 five-year 911 levy renews the expiring 0.63-mill levy and adds 0.05 mill, for a total of 0.68 mill.

The expiring levy is collected at a total effective rate of 0.55 mill, according to the Delaware County 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.

School district communications director Jennifer Ruhe said the operating levy would be used to cover salaries and operating costs and that it represents about 27% of the district's total property-tax collections for operating expenses. 

One expense that isn't connected with the levy is the district's program to upgrade all school buildings this year, Kegley said. That construction is covered by a bond issue that was approved in 2019.

The 911 levy will fund operation of the county's 911 center, which someone in an emergency situation contacts by a call or text message when first responders are needed during an emergency, Brandt said.  

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.

In other local elections, county voters reelected several candidates in contested races.

Reelected were Republican Troy Balderson, 12th District of the U.S. House of Representatives; Republican Kris Jordan, 67th District of the Ohio House of Representatives; and Republicans Gary Merrell and Jeff Benton, county commissioners.

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