Two tax renewals could go on March ballot

Two property tax levies may appear before voters on the March 2016 ballot.

Oberlin’s general fund and garbage collection levies expire at the end of this year but generate cash through June 2016.

Finance director Sal Talarico recommended Monday that city council renew the two levies and put them before voters next year.

A 1.2-mill levy supports the general fund by generating $137,050 per year. The 3-mill refuse and recycling levy brings in $342,625 per year.

They are expected to cost a resident with a $100,000 home $37 and $92 per year, respectively.

“This is probably one of the only times I have seen where a renewal will generate the same as a replacement,” Talarico said. “In my whole career I have never seen this.”

Property values have dropped and millage has gone up, which puts Oberlin back at its original full millage for both levies.

Renewing the two levies will result in a 10 percent tax rollback from the state and a 2.5 percent rollback for owners occupying a home they own.

That means a resident who lives in a $100,000 home and owns it receives a $284 discount from the state on their property taxes this year.

“If we renew it, those rollbacks will be maintained,” Talarico said. If the city were to replace the current levies rather than renew, residents would lose the rollbacks.

The finance director said another reason he is looking at the March ballot is because the schools are expected to put a levy on the November ballot this year.

Talarico plans to provide information to council in November regarding how much a renewal, replacement, and renewal with an increase would generate for the city.

Councilman Bryan Burgess requested to have Oberlin’s resource conservation and recovery commission evaluate a funding scheme for the refuse levy because residents pay the levy but Oberlin College and Mercy Allen Hospital do not, yet receive the same services.

Talarico said the 3-mill refuse levy covers nearly half the cost of the garbage fund but if the levy were eliminated then the cost would have to come in through increased fees.

Council agreed to have the commission look at financing the refuse program.

City officials have until Dec. 16 to file with the Lorain County Board of Elections.

Valerie Urbanik can be reached at 440-775-1611 or on Twitter @ValUrbanik.