County Budget Commission lowers two school districts' tax millage rates 

Ashtabula County Auditor David Thomas leaves the Ashtabula Area City Schools Board of Education office on Monday after the Ashtabula County Budget Commission reduced the district's property tax millage by 1 mill.

JEFFERSON — The Ashtabula County Budget Commission has reduced the property tax millage of two Ashtabula County school districts.

Ashtabula Area City Schools’ bond levy will decrease by 1 mill and the Grand Valley Local Schools’ bond levy will decrease by a half mill for next year’s tax charges, according to the Ashtabula County Auditor’s Office.

“Each year we look at revenue from every bond levy and how that revenue compares with the need for each taxing district to make loan payments,” Auditor David Thomas said. “These two schools are at the point in their bond payments where we can decrease the tax charge to the property owner and the schools can still make payments.”

The Budget Commission consists of the county auditor, treasurer and prosecutor, who review local government budgets for revenues, expenditures and tax rates. The commission’s role is to ensure taxing districts show a need for the revenue they receive from property owners each year.

Thomas met with AACS Treasurer Mark Astorino on Monday to discuss options for lowering the tax rate to property owners. The district has nine years left on its $21-million bond balance. Based on current payments and cash balance in the fund, Thomas and Astorino agreed the millage charged to property owners could be decreased in the coming year.

“When removing the cash balance the school already has in their fund to pay the bond back, they’re looking at a roughly $1.4 million annual payment moving forward,” Thomas said. “Ashtabula’s previous millage rate applied to property owners would have brought in more money than needed to pay back the bond.”

The decrease in Millage applied to property owners is $35 per $100,000 of value, Thomas said.

Grand Valley Local Schools also saw a decrease from the Budget Commission for their bond levy for next year. Three years remains on the bond levy approved by voters at 2.8-mills of taxed value. The school has a balance of $2.6 million with a remaining collection needed after removing the cash balance in the fund of $440,000.

Thomas’ office staff spoke with Grand Valley Local Schools Treasurer Lisa Moodt about the remaining payments and balance and agreed with a half-mill decrease in the levy taxed on the property owners for next year. The property owners in the district will see 2.3-mills assessed on their 2022 tax bills.

“This half-mill decrease will mean $17 in savings per $100,000 of property value in the school district,” Thomas said. “We will evaluate for the remaining three years of the bond and continue to see what the need is for payments and if we can decrease the tax rate again before the loan is up.”

The Budget Commission examined 12 local government bond and emergency levies to ensure a need for the charged amount on property owners to make loan payments for next year.

“While Grand Valley and Ashtabula City schools were the only two entities to see a decrease, other localities are being monitored and will likely see changes in the future,” he said.

This year was the final collection for the North Kingsville Village Fire Truck Bond and 2022 will be the final taxable year for the Harpersfield Township Fire Truck Bond.

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