Fayette must renew or replace levies 10.17

Written by David Green.

To renew or to replace? That’s a question Fayette village council members must answer in the next two months.

County auditor Nancy Yackee told council Thursday that two levies are expiring. Council members have until Dec. 23 to pass a resolution that would place the two issues on the May ballot.

 The 2.9 mill general operating levy was approved by voters in the 1960s and set at the current 2.9 level in 1978, according to Board of Elections director Brett Kolb. The 2.0 mill parks and recreation levy was established in 1978.

With one exception, council members have always chosen to seek five-year renewals of the levy at the original value rather than ask for a replacement levy that would update the levy to match existing property values.

The general operating levy brings in about $19,600 in revenue to the village, Yackee said. If it were to be replaced, revenue would jump to almost $44,000.

The park levy brings in more cash even though the millage amount is smaller than the operating levy. That’s because voters approved a replacement levy in 1998 which increased the value.

The park levy brings in about $22,100, Yackee said, but would increase to $30,310 through another replacement.

Yackee provided council members with examples of what the changes would mean to taxpayers.

The owner of a $50,000 home pays about $14.50 a year for the operating levy and $19.27 for parks. By replacing both levies, the same homeowner would pay about $44.40 and $30.60, for a total increase of $41 annually, or about 80 cents a week.

Yackee assisted Fayette fiscal officer Lisa Zuver and administrator Tom Spiess in examining the village’s finances to help plan next year’s budget.

She emphasized the importance of the two levies by suggesting that if they failed to obtain voter approval in May, council would have a second chance for approval in November, 2008.

If voters approved a replacement levy, Yackee said the village would not see an immediate increase in revenue.

“If you do a replacement,” she said, “the first time you’ll see it is February 2009 with the real estate taxes.”

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