As part of the research I was doing last week to guest host WSPD 1370's Eye on Toledo show, I found an old list of county-wide levies and how much money they generate.
Quite some time ago, I'd suggested that we change our method of putting levies on the ballot and insist that all levies be on the ballot at the same time - so that voters were able to see, in one place, all the issues/agencies/organizations asking for their money. Obviously, this didn't sit well with many organizations and agencies who thought they'd actually have to compete with others for the limited funds of the citizens...
So, I thought I'd list all the current county-wide levies so you can see everyone you're supporting and how much it's costing you. If I could confirm the estimated collection for the levies, I've listed that as well.
* Children Services Board: 2.4 Mills - two levies, one for 1.0 Mills that expires in 2007 and will be collected through 2008; and one for 1.4 Mills that expires in 2010 and will be collected through 2011. Total estimated collection is $18,725,000.00. Most people don't realize that CSB has two levies.
* Community Mental Health: 1.5 Mills - two levies, one for .5 Mills that expires in 2013 and will be collected through 2014; and one for 1.0 Mills that expires in 2008 and will be collected through 2009. Total estimated collection is $10,935,000.
* Toledo Zoo: 1.85 Mills - two levies, one for 1 Mill for Capital Improvements only that expires in 2015 and will be collected through 2016; and one for .85 Mills for operating expenses that expires in 2010 and will be collected through 2011.
* Metro Parks: 1.7 Mills - two levies, one for .3 Mills for new land purchases that expires in 2011 and will be collected through 2012; and one for 1.4 Mills that expires in 2007 and will be collected through 2008. Total estimated collection is $11,500,000.
* TARTA: 2.5 Mills - two levies, one for 1.5 Mills that expired in 2006 and will be collected through the end of this year; and one for 1 Mill that expires in 2010 and will be collected through 2011.
* Toledo Lucas County Public Library: 2 Mills - two levies, 1 Mill each, both expired in 2006 and are collected through the end of this year. Total estimated collection was $12,250,000.
* Port Authority: .4 Mills, expires in 2008 and will be collected through 2009.
* 9-1-1: .7 Mills, expires 2010 and will be collected through 2011.
* Senior Levy: .45 Mills, expires in 2008 and will be collected through 2009.
* MR/DD: 5 Mills continuous per state law.
Total: 18.5 Mills
For quick math, you can figure a single mill generates about $30 of taxes for a $100,000 valued home. So if your home is $100,000, you're paying about $550 for these levies.
Now, so far, the Metroparks wants their 1.4 Mills to be voted on as a replacement. Replacement levies are usually the same millage amount, but applied to the most recent valuation of the property. This means that, for a $100,000 home, you'll pay an additional $15.89 per year for this levy.
The Library wisely wants to combine their two 1-Mill levies into a single 2-Mill levy. However, this would be a replacement levy and taxed against the most recent valuation of your home - an increase of $19.94 per year for a $100,000 home.
And then there is COSI who has a new levy request for .167 Mills. While "it's only" $5 per year for a $100,000 home, it's a new property tax that is not likely to ever go away, much less stay the same in terms of millage or collections. (for more on the 'it's only' please see my previous post)
So far, the proposed increase for you on your taxes is $40.83 per year for a $100,000 home - and that's on top of the roughly $550 you're already paying. If TARTA puts a replacement levy on the ballot, your amount will top the $600 level...and then some.
Oh - and for a really sobering thought - this doesn't include the school levies. TPS has 63.5 Mills that are on your tax bill, their continuous 44.8 Mills and all voted on additions including: 6.50 mills General, 4.90 mills General (Emergency), 2.50 mills Permanent Improvement, 4.30 mills Construction Bonds, and 0.50 mills Classrooms.
If all these were on the ballot at the same time, would you vote yes on all of them? Or would you be more selective and prioritize the spending of your tax dollars? Would you support more than one levy per agency?
Many fear that voters would NOT support everything that they do now, if they knew or understood the TOTAL implication of the combined effect these levies have on your tax bill. But then, that's exactly why support for putting all levies on the ballot at one time is virtually non-existent.
Remember this the next time someone tells you "it's for the children," "but it's only...," or "it's for our quality of life."