By JIM MAURER

STAFF WRITER

A bond issue for building construction in the Liberty-Benton School District, and a renewal levy for the Blanchard Valley Center are among seven tax issues on the May 7 primary ballot in Hancock County.

Wednesday was the deadline for issues to be filed with the Hancock County elections board for the primary.

The Hancock County Board of Developmental Disabilities is seeking renewal of a 2.5-mill, five-year levy. It’s the only countywide issue on the ballot.

The levy would generate more than $4.01 million annually for operations and “community-based services” at Blanchard Valley Center.

Voters last renewed the levy in May 2014. At the time, the levy generated about $3 million annually and provided nearly 25 percent of the center’s operating revenue.

Liberty-Benton School District voters will decide a 6.8-mill, 35-year bond issue and a 0.5-mill continuing levy for building maintenance. If approved, the money will fund construction of a new prekindergarten through eighth-grade building, plus renovations to the high school. An auditorium/performing arts space would also be built.

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

The district presented several construction options to the community, and the school board decided on this plan after community meetings and surveys.

Tax collection would begin on 2019 tax bills, payable in early 2020. The bond issue for construction of the high school, which is now collected at 1.8 mills, will expire then. 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.

Three other school districts are seeking approval of tax issues:

• Arcadia — a 1 percent, five-year school income tax renewal. The tax provides an estimated $822,010 annually for general operating expenses. The district includes voters in Hancock and Seneca counties.

• McComb — a 0.5 percent school income tax renewal for a continuing period, beginning in 2020, to cover operating expenses. The tax generates about $416,000 annually. Collection of the continuing tax would begin in January 2020.

Voters last renewed the tax in May 2014. School district voters in Hancock, Putnam and Wood counties will decide the issue.

• Vanlue — Renewal of a 5.92-mill, 10-year emergency levy, beginning with 2019 tax bills, payable in 2020. The levy generates $325,000 annually for operating expenses.

An emergency levy generates a fixed amount, and the millage changes as property values change to maintain the amount.

The existing levy will be collected through this year.

Last November, Vanlue School District voters turned down a proposed 6-mill continuing levy. That levy would have generated $325,000 or more annually for operating expenses. The proposal was a substitute levy in the same amount as the emergency levy approved in 2009.

The substitute levy would have generated $325,000 the first year, but the amount could increase with the addition of taxable property to the tax list, according to the Ohio Legislative Service Commission.

Separately, McComb Public Library is asking for approval of a new 1-mill, five-year levy on the May ballot for library operations.

The library board wants to help offset decreasing revenue from the state’s Public Library Fund, which provides money from the state general revenue fund.

The 1-mill levy is expected to generate $97,725 annually. The library spent $281,510 in 2017, according to library information. The library cut its budget for this year to offset the decrease in money from the Public Library Fund.

Voters within the library’s coverage area in Hancock and Putnam counties will decide the issue.

The issue was placed on the ballot by the McComb school board, which is the taxing authority for the library.

Separately, PMP Joint Ambulance District is seeking a 4.4-mill, three-year renewal levy to provide ambulance service within Pleasant and Portage townships and the Village of McComb.

Maurer: 419-427-8420

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