Sunday, July 16, 2000

Monroe taxes causing concern




By Sue Kiesewetter
Enquirer Contributor

        MONROE — As the state's newest school district here gears up for fall classes, a big question looms: can the district legally collect on existing tax levies?

        School officials believe that operating and emergency levies and other funding issues that were in place when Monroe was part of the Middletown/Monroe schools should carry over to the new district and don't require any vote, said Dan Hare, interim superintendent.

        But the Ohio Department of Taxation told school officials they might have to put the millage back on the ballot for voter approval.

        “They may not be eligible to pick up existing millage and bring it over to the new district,” said Gary Gudmundson, spokesman for the Ohio Department of Taxation. “It is still unclear.”

        Mr. Hare said Friday school officials have been meeting with the Butler County Budget Commission on the matter, and he expects it to be settled in two to three weeks. In the meantime, the Middletown Schools have agreed to return any taxes collected in Monroe to the Monroe Local Schools, Mr. Hare said.

        Middletown Schools Treasurer Edmund Pokora said because of the way taxes are collected in Ohio there shouldn't be a problem transferring all real estate taxes collected from Monroe residents and businesses through Dec. 31, 2001, to the Monroe Schools. The same holds true for personal property taxes, which businesses pay on equipment, through June 2001.

        Because the deconsolidation of school districts is so rare, “right now the jury is out on what should be done,” said Fred Bounds, director of real estate for the Butler County auditor's office.

        Mr. Bounds said there is no taxing district yet to accept Monroe taxes because the Monroe Local Schools didn't exist in the period for which taxes were collected. The money will go to Middletown Schools until there is a ruling.

       



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