Columbiana school officials set record straight on bond issue

COLUMBIANA – School officials are setting the record straight.

“We were not here to attack or confront anyone,” Columbiana School District Treasurer Lori Posey told City Council Tuesday night.

Posey was referring to the April 2 council meeting in which members of the Columbiana Building Excellence Committee said misinformation was posted on a councilman’s website last year.

The information about the $4 million bond issue the district put on the August special election ballot last year appeared on Bryan Blakeman’s personal website. It had already been removed before the last council meeting.

The 29-year bond issue failed by a majority vote at the August election and the board of education has since approved putting it on the May 7 election ballot.

The money that would be generated through the additional tax is targeted for facility improvements at South Side Middle School, mostly a new roof.

Blakeman had posted on his website,, the bond issue would cost taxpayers more than what the district was saying it was.

Posey had commented on the website the information being put out was not correct and provided the accurate figures.

On Tuesday she explained that what was posted online wasn’t necessarily incorrect, although it was causing some confusion.

She said the information was taken from the original ballot language, which refers to cost in terms of “taxable value” as opposed to the common reference, “market value.”

“When the difference of calculation was pointed out to Mr. Blakeman, in his communications to his constituents he clarified that point,” she said. “I want to apologize that this issue was brought up we are all on the same page regarding calculation of cost.”

Posey also thanked Blakeman for attending the latest committee meeting at Firestone Farms on Sunday.

In turn, Blakeman thanked Posey for the apology and clarification.

“We are here to work with our city government,” Hura said.

If approved, the bond will cost the owner of a $100,000 home an additional $37.67 a year in taxes and the owner of a $50,000 home $18.83 a year.

The figures are based on property real estate values.

Posey also said that real estate taxes went down last year by nearly as much as the cost of the bond issue as a result of the public library bond expiring.

“The decrease would show on the taxes you paid in 2012. The increase for the school’s bond issue would begin on taxes paid in 2014,” she said.

Hura also pointed out that while the ballot language includes athletic facility improvements, no taxes generated from the bond will go toward those without taxpayer approval first.

The school board passed a resolution reinforcing that at the March meeting.

Hura and Clancy then showed an informational video the committee is distributing to the community.

Clancy said the committee has ordered 400 lawn signs advertising the bond and those have already been placed in about 230 yards in town.

The signs were purchased through donations, which has amounted to roughly $4,000 to date.