Property Tax, Twinsburg Schools, Police, Fire and the MetroParks

In a previous post (Issue 24 – Request For Questions) I asked for resident questions about the upcoming Issue 24 on this November’s ballot. I will be posting the questions I received with the answers. Please send questions to me at gregbellantwinsburg@gmail.com or send them via the contact form.

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Question

(As you will see below, there’s quite a bit to this question – actually it is several questions but I’ve gotten this or something similar several times so I’m posting the response here)

I am trying to understand issue 24 in light inside millage and charter millage. I only know the definition of Ohio approved inside millage that is limited to 10 mil.  I also read about Metro Parks annexation of Twinsburg Township that would increase the levy by 2 mil.

My question is how would my current property tax be affected in plain English whether I vote “Yes” or “NO”.  How will it affect Twinsburg Education System, including staff salary, and Police and Fire Department efficiency and salary.  I do not mind a little buffer excess fund (currently around 9 million).

However, it can take us to at least four additional years even if we keep loosing some money.

Answer

Your question contains a number of different parts that need some brief background to properly answer.

You are correct that the Ohio Constitution provides for the use of up to 10 mills of inside millage. Inside millage is not voted upon and is shared with the schools and other public entities. Currently the schools use 4.97 inside mills and Summit County uses 2.20 mills. This means there are 2.83 unused inside mills available.

Section 6.01 of the City Charter authorizes Council to “levy taxes for all purposes of the Municipality without a vote of the people which shall not exceed or accumulate beyond a maximum of 7 mills in any one year.” Since 1973 Council has authorized anywhere from .6 to 6.72 Charter mills.

The Metro Parks annexation is intended to replace the Park Bond that was approved by the voters in 1999 to pay for the purchase of Liberty Park (1.31 mills). The City and Metro Parks agreed that as long as Twinsburg residents were paying for Liberty Park they would be exempt from also paying into the Metro Park levy at the same time. The Park Bond will be paid off next year and the City will likely be annexed into the Metro Parks beginning in 2022.

This year Council approved the use of 2.4 additional Charter mills specifically earmarked below. Commencing on January 1, 2021 the City has proposed to use the following Charter millage:

  • 1.0 mill – Police Pension Fund
  • 1.0 mill – Fire Pension Fund
  • 1.0 mill – Police and Fire Capital account

Below are your property taxes based upon $100,000 of appraised valuation:

  • Current – 0.60 mills Police & Fire Pension = $18.90 annually
  • 2021 – 3.0 mills proposed for Police & Fire = $102.90 annually

How would my current property tax be affected in plain English whether I vote “Yes” or “NO”?

Since Issue 24 significantly restricts the ability to use Charter millage. A YES vote will result in the City not increasing your property tax in 2021.

A NO vote will increase property taxes by $84.00 per year (per $100,000 of appraised valuation) strictly designated for Police and Fire.

How will it affect the Twinsburg Education System?

The City and the School District are separate financial entities. As stated above, the 10 mill limitation established by the Ohio Constitution are shared between the schools, City and County on an “as needed” basis. Charter millage allows the City and school to avoid competing for the same millage. If Issue 24 passes that competition may be unavoidable.

How will it affect… Police and Fire Department efficiency and salary?

The hope is that the voters don’t drastically change the Charter as proposed by Issue 24 and the City can proceed with its plan to fully fund the safety forces pension and establish a capital fund for equipment purchases (police cruisers/fire trucks/EMS squads/building upgrades).

If issue 24 passes the City is still committed to maintaining our safety forces but will have to look to other means for these much needed funds. Our Police Officers and Firefighters are extremely professional and their efficiency will not be negatively impacted. However, property taxes are much more stable than income taxes and Council is committed to providing a stable funding source for our safety forces.

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