By Linda Collins
Fairborn Daily Herald
ENON – The Enon Village Council has approved placing an additional 5-mill tax levy on the Nov. 8 ballot that village officials say is essential to maintaining police services in the village.
Council members adopted a resolution during the Tuesday, July 12 village council meeting declaring a necessity for an additional police levy and requesting certification from the county auditor. Enon Fiscal Officer Diana McCubbin told council members that the signed resolution would be sent to the county auditor’s office on Wednesday so the process could move forward without delay.
McCubbin noted that the auditor’s office is required to return the Resolution of Necessity within 10 days. Upon its receipt, McCubbin will file a Resolution to Proceed with the Clark County Board of Elections.
If approved in November, the five-year levy would generate an additional $226,205 annually, costing the owner of a $100,000 home an extra $175 per year in property taxes or an additional monthly outlay of $14.58, according to McCubbin. She also stated that an owner of a $150,000 home would pay out an additional $262.50 annually or $21.88 per month.
“We will have a more exact figure when the certificate is returned from the county auditor,” Enon Mayor Tim Howard added.
The levy would commence in the 2016 tax year, with collection beginning in 2017 and would generate funds to pay for police salaries, benefits, training, vehicles, equipment and other operating expenses. Currently, money from the village’s general fund and two, 2.5-mill police levies support the operations of the village police department.
Howard noted that village officials chose the 5-mill tax rate after months of deliberation and procuring the results of a five-year financial forecast report that was presented to council members during the June 28 village council meeting.
Larry Weeks, a shareholder at Clark, Schaefer, Hackett, & Co., presented the 13-page report that provided a detailed account of projected revenues and expenses through 2020. Village officials hired the CPA and business consultant firm earlier this year to analyze the village’s financial state of affairs and provide a financial forecast. Week’s primary area of expertise is auditing government agencies.
Weeks told council members that property tax values would continue to decrease at approximately 1.5 percent per year over the foreseeable future. Property tax revenue is projected to remain at the same percentage, absent any new property tax levies.
“Intergovernmental revenue is conservatively projected flat. While recent years indicated modest growth, any period of retraction in the economy will most likely result in state subsidies and shared taxes being reduced in the future by the state,” Weeks said.
However, Weeks said projected expenditures would presumably increase. He explained that a general inflationary factor of 2 percent was used to project expenses over a five-year period, absent any specific information regarding increases or decreases in the projected years.
“The current police fund has no opportunity for growth. The fund is fixed but has gone down due to delinquent taxes,” said Weeks. “When the state reduced local government fund revenue, it affected all village operations.”
Weeks presented three scenarios for maintaining expenditures, which included limiting general fund police expenditures to $100,000 starting in 2017. He also concluded that an additional 5-mill levy is needed at this time to achieve financial stability for the police department’s operations.
Howard pointed out that the Village of Enon is alike most other municipalities in Ohio.
“We are experiencing a loss of revenue from multiple sources, including state funding and an increase in expenditures. Additional funding for the village police department is critical to our operations and will allow us to employ four, full-time police officers once again,” Howard said.
Howard noted that approval of a new levy would also help stabilize the village’s general fund and free up monies for additional projects, such as street paving.
“”I hope village residents are happy with the police services they are getting and recognize the dilemma we are facing,” said Howard. “We all have worked hard to build a professional department with dedicated police officers that truly care about the safety of Enon residents.”
The mayor also pointed out that Enon is a unique community with no income tax. Therefore, he said support of the 5-mil additional levy is extremely important at this time.
“We need voters to help us keep Enon a safe community by voting for the levy in November,” Howard said.
Linda Collins is a freelance reporter for Greene County News.