When Mansfield City Schools returns to the ballot in May seeking renewal of two property tax levies, the duration of those levies will be staggered. Neither would be a new tax, only a continuation of what the district already has.
Treasurer Robert Kuehnle proposed the staggered renewal dates during the board of education meeting Tuesday, citing the devastating impact if both levies were lost at the same time as the result of a downturn in the economy or other unexpected circumstance. “These levies were approved by voters in 2013 and each generates approximately $4 million annually,” he said. “My goal is not to have both levies on the same five-year cycle.” Kuehnle said he will propose both renewals at the same dollar amount as they generate now, meaning that together they would continue to yield $8 million annually. He emphasized again that no new taxes are involved. “I would propose staggered renewals, one at five years and the other at seven, or seven and nine, or five and eight, or any other combination the board would prefer,” he said. “If there were an economic downturn, the district could lose a lot if both levies were non-renewed at the same time.”
Board members Renda Cline and Sheryl Weber expressed their support for Kuehnle’s proposal. “I would like to see a two-year gap between the levies,” board member Gary Feagin said. After more board comment, Kuehnle said, “What I believe I’m hearing is one renewal at five years, the other at seven.”
There was no formal vote, but board members voiced their agreement. Within the prescribed timeframe before the May 2 primary, Kuehnle will draft specific levy language for board approval.
Also on Tuesday the board approved the five-year district financial forecast presented by Kuehnle. Updated forecasts must be forwarded to the state twice each year, in May and October.
The district, which is nearing the end of state-imposed fiscal emergency, is positioned to have a general fund balance of nearly $14.9 million at the end of fiscal year 2017. Without approval of the two renewals, Kuehnle estimated, that balance would shrink to $431,000 in fiscal year 2020. The district then would have a negative balance of $12.8 million the following year.