Bethel levy mislabeled

By Cecilia Fox -

MIAMI COUNTY — A proposed 10-year, 3.49 mill substitute levy for the Bethel Local Schools district has been labeled as a renewal levy on the ballot.

While sample ballots on the county’s website call it a renewal levy rather than a substitute levy in the title, the full ballot text correctly reads, “Shall a tax levy substituting for an existing levy be imposed?”

Asked if the wording might cause any issues with the levy, Miami County Board of Elections Director Bev Kendall said, “Not that I’m aware of.”

A list of issues on the board of election’s website also describes the levy as a renewal to be used for “new land or real property improvements.”

According to Brennon Hattery, the school district’s treasurer, a substitute levy allows districts experiencing “exceptional growth” and new construction to capture that new growth. Districts can only put substitute levies on the ballot if there is already an emergency levy that it can be exchanged with.

The tax rate will remain the same for current residents, but because it is a substitute levy it enables the district to collect taxes on residential and commercial properties improved after its passage.

Taxpayers will also continue to benefit from the 12.5 percent property rollback provision on levies passed before November 2013.

The levy generates approximately 4.3 percent of the district’s operating revenue, which is used on day-to-day operational expenses like utilities, bus fuel, custodial services, building insurance and state audit fees.

By Cecilia Fox

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Reach Cecilia Fox at