ST. MARYS —The St. Marys School District is in trouble financially — so much so, the district’s five-year plan is predicting a shortfall sooner than later.
“Unfortunately our expenditures are exceeding our revenue. There hasn’t been any new revenue, other than a little bit of the state tax since 2004, so we’re at that crossroad, so we need to go to the voters for more money,” said Howard Overman, the district’s interim superintendent.
The district is currently running at a deficit and will have a negative cash balance by 2020 if nothing is done to reverse the trend. The school board met Wednesday night at the high school to discuss the financial situation during its regular board meeting.
“We want to show the financial status and why we’re where we’re at,” Overman said.
Mike Sobul, a consultant from Public Finance Resources, gave a presentation outlining where the district is financially and what options are available. He discussed both the pros and cons of the board going with an emergency property tax levy or an income tax levy.
For an income tax, that tax is generally more beneficial to seniors and farmers, relative to a property tax. Its revenue can increase as the economy increases. For an emergency property tax, Sobul reported that revenue coming in would be more consistent and it would spread the tax burden to business taxpayers.
The six options considered included a $3.5 million, five-year emergency levy; a $3.75 million, five-year emergency levy; a 1.25 percent five-year traditional income tax levy; a 1.5 percent, five-year traditional income tax levy; a 1.5 percent, five-year earned income tax levy and a 1.75 percent, five-year earned income tax levy.
The board passed all six tax resolutions with none of them selected as the final solution.
“All six of the resolutions have to be to the [Auglaize County] Board of Elections, if they decide to go on the ballot in May, by Feb. 7, but the income tax resolutions — four of them — have to be sent to the state to be certified. They [the State of Ohio] get ten days to certify them. Voting to accept the resolutions doesn’t bind us by going with that, only the one they decide on comes on the Jan. 31 [board meeting]” Overman said.
Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.