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I was WRONG about School Levy

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Mike_Presta View Drop Down
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    Posted: Jun 23 2010 at 12:22pm

As most of you know, when I make a mistake about something I admit it as soon as I learn that was in error, and try to do so in the same (or to an even larger) venue than the original.

Well, I was WRONG in some of the negative arguments that I made prior to the May elections about the MCSD conversion tax levy. Not only was my research FLAWED in that I researched versions of the Ohio Revised Code and Ohio Administrative code that were not completely up to date, but also I failed to consider the fact that the school levy conversion provisions contained in the State of Ohio budget bill passed late in 2009 carry the effects of law.

Yes, I was WRONG!!! Conversion levies are MUCH WORSE than even I had warned!!!

Per the Executive Summary to “The Need for Levy Reform in Ohio” by Joe Testa:

the conversion levy option added in the 2009 state budget allows school districts to place an operating levy on the ballot that would eliminate the protections of House Bill 920 that keeps property taxes from increasing significantly from year-to-year and, if made permanent, would result in large property tax increases when home values increase without affording homeowners a chance to vote on those increases. Because the conversion levy would not result in an increase in property taxes in the first year once passed, school districts can argue for passage of the conversion levy as revenue neutral. Once passed, due to the constant increase in property tax revenue, school districts would be able to spend money freely.”

You can read Mr. Testa’s entire essay (and examine his excellent credentials) here: http://www.buckeyeinstitute.org/uploads/files/BUCKEYE002_main_layout.pdf

“Mulligan said he ... doesn’t believe they necessarily make the return on investment necessary to keep funding them.” …The Middletown Journal, January 30, 2012
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote John Beagle Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun 23 2010 at 2:04pm
Thanks for the post and thanks for manning up on this issue.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote spiderjohn Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun 23 2010 at 2:21pm
I supported this issue, and echoed the well-intentioned claims of school admin.
Maybe Ms.Andrew could clariify this situation, ALONG WITH the very disturbing developments coming from Duke Energy's dispute over property valuations and the possible school funding loss allegedly to be made up by the property tax payers.
 
This could be a very un-expected hit.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hermes Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun 23 2010 at 3:43pm

With Duke holding back funds in the millions I wouldn't be surprised to see another school levy soon.

I would like to be able to say that this was an "over sight" by the school officials (conversion levy) but I am sure they no doubt did their "homework" on the issue and knew exactly what they were offering us. I feel hood winked is not a strong enough word for this cause. And that is why I do not now or ever support a school levy. (or any levy)
No more democrats no more republicans,vote Constitution Party !!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote spiderjohn Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun 23 2010 at 4:23pm
You had better read the fine print, Hermes.
Looks as if the remaining taxpayers are also responsible to make up the potential shortfall, and it doesn't seem to have anything to do with the recently passed levy. Though the cost will be more due to the new levy millage.
 
Talked to a school system employee about it today, and he could have cared less about the plight of the stressed local taxpayer. His response and attitude irritated the hell out of me. I would hope that Ms.Andrew might come here to weigh in on the situation.
 
Compounded by an inference that test scoring has not improved, and the Roosevelt demo should start in the fall.
 
I think that we need some changes in Admin.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote lrisner Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun 23 2010 at 5:45pm
Originally posted by spiderjohn<div> </div>
<div>I think that we need some changes in Admin.</div>[/QUOTE spiderjohn
 
I think that we need some changes in Admin.
[/QUOTE wrote:





Absolutely we need change and  I don't mean some other School Admin. P



Absolutely we need change and  I don't mean some other School Admin. Professional. I want someone with ZERO Education background. I feel that all these Professionals are our downfall in all areas. Most Professional training these Days seems to be predominately about  how to be an incompetent Bureaucrat.

We need some retired Businessperson or someone with no Education Axe to grind.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Marcia Andrew Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun 23 2010 at 6:32pm

The levy passed in May for MCSD was NOT a conversion levy. It was a substitute continuing levy. It substituted one continuous fixed sum levy in place of two temporary fixed sum levies.  I have not had time yet to read the paper Mr. Presta cited, but I believe it is talking about a different type of levy than the one we passed. I will post again after I review the issue, but I wanted to get on quickly to say I think there is no cause for alarm.  The substitute continuing levy passed does not and will not increase if and when the assessed valuation of existing properties increases. It generates a fixed sum for the district.

As to Duke Energy's tax appeal, there is not much to say. Duke obviously did not consult MCSD about it; it just decided to pay 40% less.  Duke gave the school district no advance warning.  This will be a hit to our budget. We don't know yet the actual amount or what we will do to adjust for the lost revenue.
 
Marcia Andrew
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Pacman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun 23 2010 at 7:09pm

Ohio Education Alert

New School District Tax Levy Options in Capital Bill Signed by Governor Strickland

June 2008


The State Capital Bill (Amended Substitute House Bill 562), signed by Governor Strickland on June 24, includes the following new tax levy options for school districts considering emergency levies or the renewal of emergency levies:

  • Longer Term for Emergency Levies. A school district may submit to its voters an emergency levy for a term of up to 10 years (the maximum term was formerly five years). This maximum 10-year term is authorized for either new or renewal emergency levies.
  • New "Substitute" Levy. A school district with an existing emergency levy may submit to its voters a new "substitute" levy for a term of up to 10 years or for a continuing period of time. This new substitute levy must be proposed at an initial specified dollar amount for the first collection year equal to the amount of the proposing district's existing emergency levy. Thereafter, revenues from the substitute levy may experience limited annual growth based solely on new real property improvements made in the school district in each year. As with an emergency levy, the new substitute levy (i) is above the so-called "20-mill floor," (ii) receives the same tangible personal property tax reimbursements as the prior levy and (iii) may be substituted for more than one existing emergency levy.

These new tax levy options may permit a school district to reduce the number of tax levy elections and avoid voter fatigue by extending the levy term or providing for limited revenue growth from new real property improvements.

We wanted to bring these new options to your attention as soon as possible because the deadline for tax levy election filings with the board of elections for the upcoming November 4 general election is August 21.

If you have any questions regarding these new tax levy options or you wish to consider placing a levy on the November ballot, please contact one of us or the Squire Sanders attorney with whom you regularly consult.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote VietVet Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun 24 2010 at 10:28am
Thank you Mike/Pac for continually finding and publishing these new funding initiatives. Sad that this new proposal MAY be worse than expected. My family and I voted no this last time because we are tapped out on the giving end (and because we'd like to see a little positive upward movement in the ratings). With the schools wanting more money, the sheriff's office soliciting funds, kids knocking on the door for their little fundraisers, AmVets calling, United Way, Disabled Vets wanting a donation and others, there just isn't enough money to give to all of these organizations. We are an equal opportunity non-giver to all money asking folks in our household.(unless we are forced to by the passage of the levies)

Don't understand the comment that the ten years will make it easier on the property owner as to frequency of the schools asking for more money. It also suggests that the schools can ask throughout the ten year period as well, so how is this going to help us bled-dry property owners?

Guess I'm "old-fashion". I still believe that you need to produce, THEN you are rewarded. It's amazing how the schools are rewarded money despite no measureable increase in productivity/performance IMO. Rewarding a person or organization for no increase in performance breeds complacency and stagnation. Why should they try when they know the voters are going to reward them anyway? The voter approvals on these levies are illogical to me. The voters must not care what the schools are turning out these days. Just blindly keep feeding them money, paying no attention to the outcome of their investment. JMO
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hermes Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun 24 2010 at 10:48am
Anyone know what percentage of that $40 million Duke owes goes to MSD ? Or dollar amounts ?
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Pacman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun 24 2010 at 10:51am
About $1,000,000.00

"Rasmussen said Wednesday, June 23, that Duke estimates Middletown schools would lose $327,000 for the rest of this year and as much as $654,000 annually as a result of the ultility company’s challenge to its personal property taxes to the tune of $40 million."

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Marcia Andrew Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jul 15 2010 at 1:06pm
Mr. Presta,
 
I have now read "The Need for Levy Reform in Ohio", the paper that you cited at the start of this thread, published by The Buckeye Institute, an advocacy group.
 
The paper decries a new type of levy, called a "conversion levy."  The school levy passed in May is not a conversion levy, it is a substitute continuing levy, and the school board and the levy campaign were correct in how they described this levy to the public.  The concerns detailed in this paper are simply not applicable to the May levy.  The "conversion" going on with a conversion levy is the conversion of outside mills to inside mills. Inside mills can increase with increases in property valuations; outside mills generally do not, as a result of HB 920 which denies school districts the lion's share of the benefit of increased property values (and therefore, resulting in school districts needing to place new levies on the ballot, to keep up with inflation).
 
The type of "substitute continuing" levy that Middletown did pass is accurately described in Pacman's post in the middle of this thread.  It is called a "substitute" levy because it is a substitution, dollar for dollar, for the two existing emergency levies, combined into one levy.  It is "continuing" because it continues indefinitely, rather than being for a fixed term like the two expiring emergency levies.  The substitute continuing levy is outside millage, just like the two emergency levies it replaces.
 
Conversion levies are described and controlled by Ohio Revised Code Section 5705.219.  Substitute levies (both continuing, and for a fixed term) are described and controlled by Ohio Revised Code Section 5705.199.
 
The Buckeye Institute paper, at page 16, contains a good explanation of how fixed sum levies will have millage rates that fluctuate each year, but generally do not raise taxes on an individual property unless that property increases in value out of proportion to the general tax base.  I will quote it here:
 
"Most school levies are permanent and generate exactly the amount of money that the voters approved -- no more and no less.  Operating expense levies, of which there are several variations, are adjusted each year according to what is known as the carryover value of the properties that existed at the time of the levy's passage.  That means that if the value of your home increases as a result of the reappraisal and your value increased the average for your district, then your taxes for that one levy will not increase in subsequent years.  If, however, your home value increased to a greater extent than the average of your district because of market conditions in your neighborhood, then you would pay more as a result.  Because the levy guarantees a specific amount of money to the government entity, the tax on each property will rise or fall depending on its value compared to the aggregated property values in the taxing district.  If you construct a room addition or otherwise take some significant step to enhance the market value of your home, then the tax impact will be greater on you as well."
 
The May levy is not a conversion levy.  It is a fixed sum levy, that will generate the fixed sum ($18.4 million) for the district.  There is the twist, openly disclosed by the district, that the total dollars collected by the district could rise above the fixed sum but only to the extent that there is new real estate development.
 
To say that Middletown passed a conversion levy is flat out wrong. To imply, by your quote from the Buckeye Institute paper, that the school board and the campaign deliberately hoodwinked the voters by advertising the levy as revenue neutral, while it secretly expected the amount collected to rise with a general increase in property values, is not only wrong but unfair.  As I said above, the May levy collects a fixed sum that will not rise if and when property values recover.
 
Marcia Andrew
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mike_Presta Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jul 16 2010 at 8:24am
Ms. Andrew:
 
The levy has passed, the point is moot.
 
However, we have now come full circle back to the very issue which fomented our original debate!!!
Originally posted by Mike_Presta Mike_Presta wrote:

(Posted: 11 Mar 2010 at 10:34pm) "The levy does not raise taxes on current properties."

Does this mean that the tax RATE on your individual property will not increase?

Does it mean that the DOLLAR AMOUNT of taxes that you pay on your individual property will not increase?

Does it mean that the "assessed value" of your individual property will not increase?

Start asking SPECIFIC questions like those and watch them dance around!

What it means is that:

They will collect a total of $18.3 million annually on all of the property in this school district as they are currently assessed!!

If any "current property" is subdivided or developed, it will be ADDED to the tax rolls (that is, it is NOT a "current property"!) and will be an addition to the $18.3 million!

If your neighbor's house burns down, or if a business goes bankrupt and abandons their property, or ANY of the "current properties" for any reason get re-assessed downwards or otherwise fall from the tax rolls, the district will still collect $18.3 million from the remainder of the "current properties"!!!

Or, more succinctly put, with fewer “current properties” remaining to be taxed, and many of the remaining “current properties” having lost assessed value RELATIVE to the rest, how can the District collect the $18.3 (or has it already been raised to $18.4?) million without raising taxes on the rest of us???

I fear that due to the Duke tax action, we will soon find out.
“Mulligan said he ... doesn’t believe they necessarily make the return on investment necessary to keep funding them.” …The Middletown Journal, January 30, 2012
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Marcia Andrew Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jul 16 2010 at 10:03am
Originally posted by Mike_Presta Mike_Presta wrote:

As most of you know, when I make a mistake about something I admit it as soon as I learn that was in error, and try to do so in the same (or to an even larger) venue than the original.

Well, Mr. Presta, so much for admitting publicly when you make a mistake.
 
It's odd for you to say the point is moot.  You are the one who raised this issue post-election, not me.
 
$18.4 was a typo. Always was and still is $18.3.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote VietVet Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jul 16 2010 at 10:14am
Mike- are you trying to suggest that if the schools are guaranteed 18.3 mils and there are fewer residents in town(say 48,000) to pick up the tab, that we all will be paying more than if we were at full capacity (say 54,000)???? That makes too much sense and is too logical on the math scene for me.

Speaking of school funding- the amount the schools are getting should be going down as our property values have dropped by 20 to 40 thou with the re-evaluations done by Rogers in the off-year assessments, right?( I'm being sarcastic here by the way). Has any of our property taxes gone down to the level of our newly established, downgraded property values? I haven't seen a drop in my taxes. They are the same amount as before the recent re-appraisal of property even though my home was re-appraised for 30 thou less than it was worth a few years ago. What gives here folks?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Marcia Andrew Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jul 16 2010 at 1:23pm
Viet Vet, the Buckeye Institute paper that Mike Presta cited at the beginning of this thread actually explains why taxes drop very little when property values go down, as you noted.  Very short summary that leaves out lots of intracies, is that while property owners are shielded from almost all the increase in taxes that would otherwise be associated with increased property values, due to HB 920 (and school districts only see a small fraction of an increase), the opposite happens when property values go down--school districts are shielded from almost all the decrease that would be associated with decreased property values, and property owners only see a small fraction of a drop.  So, as property values drop, the school district will see a small decrease in taxes collected on the inside millage, but not on taxes collected on fixed sum levies.
 
As to the rest of your question, the population size is not directly relevant to taxes. It's a property tax, not a per capita tax. The people can leave town, but the property cannot. Someone owns it, and a tax is assessed against it.  Collectibility does becomes an issue.
 
Marcia Andrew
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote spiderjohn Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jul 16 2010 at 4:06pm
I expect "collectability" to become a much more difficult issue as the economic "situation" lingers.
Especially if the commercial property collapse happens(just look at thempy business structures + those filled by marginal tenants).
 
So--what happens to the funding when a sizable # of owners can't pay?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote wasteful Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jul 16 2010 at 5:44pm

What happens to the funding when and if the city ever gets around to demolishing 2000-3000 homes?

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mike_Presta Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jul 17 2010 at 5:00am

Well??? Well?!?! WELL!!!

Well, I may have erred in what it is called. And, well, even pro-levy posters referred to “conversion levies“ without challenge. And, well, I didn’t want to argue about this any longer and perhaps “moot” was not the correct legal term to use, but, then again, well, I am not a lawyer. And, well, at least to me, what the dang thing was called was NOT the issue!!!

So, let’s get back to what was the issue (at least in MY mind):

1. “It is a fixed sum levy, that will generate the fixed sum ($18.3 million) for the district.” [Your words, Ms. Andrew, not mine, but we agree on this!!!]

2. The “population size is not directly relevant to taxes. It's a property tax, not a per capita tax. The people can leave town, but the property cannot. Someone owns it, and a tax is assessed against it.” [Once again, your words, Ms. Andrew, not mine, but we agree on this!!!]

Now, back to the original point, regardless of what the thing is called:

As hundreds (and possibly even thousands) of properties are demolished, land banked, converted to parks, or otherwise turned into properties which NO TAX-PAYING ENTITY OWNS (such as municipal government), exactly how will this “fixed sum” be “generated” without “raising taxes” (as that term is commonly understood by the layman) on the rest of us???

ONE single levy was substituted for TWO, and, at the same time, converted from a fixed term to a never-ending proposition.  Call it a "duck" (even though it doesn't quack), or call it a "unicorn" (even though it has no horn), that is NOT the question!!!  The paragraph immediately above in BLUE is the question!!!
  (And, at least in MY MIND, that has been the question from the start!!!  Go back and read the transcript posts of BOTH threads!!!)
“Mulligan said he ... doesn’t believe they necessarily make the return on investment necessary to keep funding them.” …The Middletown Journal, January 30, 2012
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mike_Presta Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jul 17 2010 at 5:06am
Oh, and have a nice day!!! Smile
“Mulligan said he ... doesn’t believe they necessarily make the return on investment necessary to keep funding them.” …The Middletown Journal, January 30, 2012
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mike_Presta Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jul 17 2010 at 5:58am
Originally posted by VietVet VietVet wrote:

Mike- are you trying to suggest that if the schools are guaranteed 18.3 mils and there are fewer residents in town(say 48,000) to pick up the tab, that we all will be paying more than if we were at full capacity (say 54,000)???? That makes too much sense and is too logical on the math scene for me.

Speaking of school funding- the amount the schools are getting should be going down as our property values have dropped by 20 to 40 thou with the re-evaluations done by Rogers in the off-year assessments, right?( I'm being sarcastic here by the way). Has any of our property taxes gone down to the level of our newly established, downgraded property values? I haven't seen a drop in my taxes. They are the same amount as before the recent re-appraisal of property even though my home was re-appraised for 30 thou less than it was worth a few years ago. What gives here folks?
Vet,

Not quite!!!

First, the schools are (I believe) guaranteed $18.3 million per year, not 18.3 mils.

Second, (and once again, this is just what I believe--i am NOT a lawyer, thank goodness!!! Wink Big%20smile ) if your property is reappraised, it has been said, that it will not affect the "school" portion of your taxes, as long as you have not made substantial improvements to your home!!! For example, if by some miracle all properties in Middletown rose in value by 25%, the school tax rate would go DOWN so that your tax bill would remain the same. Conversely, if all Middletown properties sank by 25% (AGAIN), the school tax rate will go UP, so that portion of your tax bill would remain the same!!!

However, if you add six rooms to your home, a swimming pool, a three car garage, tennis courts and a wine cellar, and thereby raise the appraised value by 10%, the school portion AMOUNT of your property taxes will go UP about 10%!!!

Conversely (and once again I AM NOT AN ATTORNEY!!!), if my house burns down, and I decide not to rebuild but simply to clear the rubble and to fill in the hole and simply hold onto the lot, the school levy component of my property taxes should go DOWN substantially, perhaps by 75 or 80%!!!!

The thing is that, YOU, Hermes, Randy, Pacman, Spiderjohn, Nagy, Bill, Wasteful and the rest will all have to ADD to YOUR taxes to make up the shortfall my empty lot leaves in the $18.3 million per year that we guaranteed to the MCSD on May 4, while I take the insurance money move to the outer banks of the Carolinas.

At least that’s the way that I, as a non-attorney, see it!!!

Attorney Andrews may disagree.

“Mulligan said he ... doesn’t believe they necessarily make the return on investment necessary to keep funding them.” …The Middletown Journal, January 30, 2012
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Vivian Moon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jul 17 2010 at 8:00am

Mike
    Soon we will have another big problem here in
Middletown
.
If the New Section 8 Inspection Rules are passed by City Council none of the foreclosed properties that are now up for sale will be purchased here in
Middletown so they will continue to set empty and suck up city funds and property values will continue to fall here in Middletown
.
    Then we have all the commercial property that has been sitting empty for years.
    I can’t wait for the census report to confirm that we do not have 50,000 people left here in
Middletown.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Pacman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jul 17 2010 at 9:16am
Vivian, I think it is a forgone conclusion that the population of Middletown has declined.  I also don't see how having more properties bought up by Section 8 landlords is going to solve Middletown's issues.  Increasing the  poverty rate is not the answer to ANY of Middletown's problems.
 
There comes a time Vivian when you have to say enough is enough and stand on your own two feet and not rely on the Almighty HUD funds which come with far to many strings and far to few dollars to make them worthwhile for Middletown.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hermes Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jul 17 2010 at 1:21pm
I have to go along with Mike on the "who's paying what" school levy issue.
 
But I do have one question.....when a bank or financial institution repose a house & lot do they pay local taxes on it ? Such as the school tax.
 
And Vivian brings up an interesting item about the number of tax paying citizens left in the city. Regardless of the number someone is going to have to pay for this levy.
 
Once again I don't think the school board took anything into account when they presented this levy. As with DC politicians, in my humble opinion, they see the citizens as an endless stream of income for their cause.  I don't believe for a second that the board gives a rats rear end what kind of shape this town is in or it's citizens. What I'm saying is harsh and I could be totally wrong, perhaps the board did research prior to presenting the levy,I don't know. I know I wasn't contacted by anyone doing a survey to see if it was feasible for me to pay,that much I do know. (Thats being used as an example)
 
Bottom line....whether it's city council,school board or even the state or county to present a levy or pass an extra tax without first researching to find out if people are capable of paying or not is wrong in my book. To drive people further into debt or risk the loss of a home because they can't pay is beyond reason. It doesn't matter if the levy cost a home owner $100 per year or $600 per year,that is still money being taken away from a family that could be used for a meal,gasoline,school clothes,medical bills,repairs etc etc etc. And don't forget money being paid on OTHER levies that have been passed,so in total the school levy is just another one on the long list of passed levies someone has to pay for.
 
I have and always will vote against levies. (although I did vote for the library,like an idiot)
No more democrats no more republicans,vote Constitution Party !!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Pacman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jul 18 2010 at 7:09am
Hermes the U.S. Census has been estimating for the last 2-3 years that the population of Middletown has declined to about 48k so this is nothing new.
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