Liberty-Benton school board took the first step tonight toward placing a 7.3-mill bond issue on the May 7 ballot.

The 35-year property tax includes 6.8 mills for construction and 0.5 mill for continuing maintenance of a new pre-kindergarten through eighth-grade building, plus renovations to the high school.

The board passed the first of two resolutions necessary to put the issue on the ballot, with the second to come up at the Jan. 28 meeting.

The tax would generate Liberty-Benton’s $25,594,646 share of a $45,576,101 project, with the state covering the rest.

The state would pay 57 percent of certain costs, in accordance with the Ohio School Design Manual. Liberty-Benton would end up paying more than 43 percent because the state doesn’t contribute toward certain types of construction, like auditoriums or transportation facilities.

Liberty-Benton’s plan, produced after community meetings and surveys, includes local funds for construction of an 800-seat auditorium. A Community Advisory Team also recommended this plan to the school board.

Tax collection would start in January 2020. At the same time, the bond issue for construction of the high school will expire.

That issue was passed at 7.6 mills and is now collected at 1.8 mills. So, the actual increase in property tax bills would be 5.5 mills, or $192.96 per year for a property with an appraised value of $100,000.