Photo by A.J. Newberry
By Imma Sumaita, For The Miami Student
The special election on May 5 will impact Butler County taxpayers. The four levies considered in this ballot pertain to schools, public security and libraries.
The ballot proposes a five-year, $4.9 million public safety levy that trustees claim necessary to keep the police and fire departments afloat. If approved, the new levy will raise $2 million for the two departments at the expense of $171.50 per annum for every $100,000 house owner.
According to the legal ads posted by the Board of Elections, expenses have outpaced revenues, and the township is currently transferring money from the general fund to supplement the police and fire budgets. This has been the case for the past few years. Without the funding, cuts may have to be made in these departments.
Miami first-year political science major Matthew Kline said he does not agree with this levy.
“Provided that public safety is of importance, this motion has not convinced me,” he said. “I doubt this will go down too well with the crowd and would prefer and like to hear a more convincing case for it.”
Edgewood School officials have predicted a deficit by the 2018 school year unless their levy is replaced. Edgewood is asking for a five-year, $5.4 million levy in place of its current one. This will not cost taxpayers any additional money.
The levy is designed to generate close to $2.69 million in its first year. The taxpayers will not have any new tax incidence because of this. Edgewood has already made budget cuts by reducing full time employees and completely eliminating supplemental positions. To help finance, the administrative member even froze their pays for four years in May 2010.
Megan Gardner, an economics major, is eager to see this levy be passed.
“It is obvious that the school has done its part in budgeting and they deserve this levy,” Gardner said. “Since it doesn’t increase taxes, it is definitely a positive levy.”
The MidPointe Library has an operating levy that helps cover the operating expenses for the system with West Chester Twp., Middletown and Trenton. A $.75 million for five years levy has been proposed. The levy money currently makes up 40 percent of the library’s funding and is paramount in maintaining its functionality. Without the levy, the staffing and hours would have to be reduced and the growth of this institution will be completely halted, according to the Journal-News.
Lane Libraries System that has branches in Hamilton, Fairfield and Oxford, is also seeking a renewal for its levy. Similarly, this system requires $.75 million but is asking for a 10-year levy instead of a five-year one. The levy covers operating expenses as it does for the MidPoint Library. The levy will not add to the tax burden, according to the legal ads that the Board of Elections has put out for the public viewing of these levies. For Lane Library, the levy money accounts for 35 percent of its budget. The levy will help maintain optimal number of hours and also help pursue technical advances.
Miami University sophomore Jessica Silver feels strongly about the library levies.
“The library levy is necessary for the system to keep improving and maintaining quality,” Silver said. “It doesn’t have additional taxes so I don’t see what would keep it from getting approved. Libraries are an integral resource for students like us and I am very much for these two levies.”
Voters can visit the Board of Elections website in the weeks prior to the election to view their sample ballot and ensure their eligibility to vote.