United Local attempting permanent improvement levy

HANOVERTON- For the second time this year United Local residents will be deciding on a permanent improvement levy Nov. 5 that, if approved, will not raise taxes as much as it appears.

The school board is seeking a 3-mill continuous levy that will generate $376,700 annually. The levy failed by 200 votes in May.

According to schools Superintendent Steve Viscounte, though, if the issue passes, the board will not continue its current levy, meaning the collection of an additional $200,000 instead of the full $376,700. The owner of a $100,000 home will see an actual increase of $65.11 because the current levy will be dropped, he said.

Viscounte referred residents to the district’s newsletter and website for current information on the levy and how it will affect their taxes.

Permanent improvement funds must be used for projects that extend the life of the item by five years, such as boilers, windows and roofs, and cannot be used for salaries or benefits. With a continuous levy, the school board will be able to borrow money for long-term projects, which it cannot do with the current five-year one.

And since the board had been attempting to pass a bond issue to replace parts of the K-12 campus two years ago, permanent improvement projects have been on hold. Now the board is moving forward with several projects that will exhaust the roughly $1.4 million that had been saved up.

“We are hoping for community support… It would certainly provide the opportunity to give our students, faculty and community with safe and efficient facility,” Viscounte said.

Viscounte noted that district has the second lowest voted millage in Columbiana County and receives very little from the gas and oil industry (having received one royalty check of $29 so far) or the casino and lottery money.

Recent projects being completed with permanent improvement money include installation of new energy efficient windows, event security gates and exterior energy efficient doors; upgrades to security cameras and technology; replacement of the junior high roof (20-year warranty) and textbooks; purchase of a special needs bus; construction of safe visitor football bleachers; and renovation of the nurse’s station, classrooms and administrative offices for the organization of efficient use of space for the guidance staff and classroom instruction.