Voters asked to renew levy

By Cecilia Fox -

TIPP CITY — At the polls in May, Tipp City voters will be asked to approve Issue 4, a seven year, 13.9 mill renewal levy.

The levy is a renewal, which means no new taxes, levy committee co-chairs Jim and Joellen Heatherly explained. Though a combination of two previous levies, it generates the same amount of funding for the district.

The levy generates about 26 percent of the district’s operating budget — $5.6 million each year.

“The thing is, it’s been collecting the same $5.6 million for the last couple years and that’s the ceiling for the next seven years. So we’re not asking for any more money,” Jim said.

The levy would cost the owner of a home valued at $100,000 about $36 per month.

“We’re trying to preserve the excellence that Tipp schools are known for,” Joellen said. “Why not invest at the same rate you’re already paying?”

The money generated by the levy is earmarked for day-to-day operations only, which includes teacher and support staff salaries, general maintenance, and busing.

None of the funds generated by this levy will be used for the construction of a new stadium or new schools, the co-chairs added. Funds for the new stadium are being raised by the Tipp Pride Association, a private fundraising group.

“This is not for a new building and this is not for a stadium. Tipp Pride is a non-profit group working to fund a new stadium,” Joellen said. “We are two different entities, though we support each other’s efforts.”

If both the levy committee and private stadium funding efforts are successful, it would be a win-win situation for the community, Jim said. The district’s operating budget would remain steady for the next seven years with no increases in taxes and the community would get a new stadium paid for without taxes, he explained.

The term of the levy is seven years, which means the district will ask voters to approve these funds less frequently, Jim added.

Failure to approve this levy in 2017 would result in the permanent loss of the 12.5 percent rollback exemption, Joellen said.

Under the rollback program, the state pays the first 10 percent of the tax bill for all property owners plus 2.5 percent for owner-occupied homes. This program ended in 2013, but still applies to existing levies and their renewals.

Loss of more than a quarter of the district’s operating funds would also mean significant cuts across the board, she added.

The Heatherlys said they took on the job of heading the levy committee because of their belief in the teachers and students, the current administration, and because of the effect good schools have on property values in the community.

“It’s an investment in our community and I know our community is supportive of our schools,” Joellen said.

By Cecilia Fox

Reach Cecilia Fox at

Reach Cecilia Fox at