OXFORD — The City of Oxford will be putting a property tax levy on the May ballot for the Oxford Area Trails, but council members are not sure what amount they want to ask the voters for.
During a city council meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 2, council approved three different levy amounts which must now go to the auditor for certification.
Jessica Greene, Director of EnjoyOxford and champion of the trails project, said, “We’re really excited to see this on the agenda, because what we’re hoping to do is use this for the funding of the Oxford Area Trails system. This is a recreational trail that will circumnavigate the City of Oxford. Once it is completed, it will be just under 12 miles.
“We are hoping to use these levy dollars to help us secure further grants. There are grant dollars that we can apply for and use this as a match. Saying that we have a local match will make us more competitive when applying for grant dollars and it also allows us to fund segments that might be hard to get a local or federal grant for.
“It allows us a bit of flexibility over the next couple years when working on the trails. My personal goal is to see the trail system complete in 10 years.”
Council had to approve three different resolutions for the tax levy, even though there will only be one levy the voters will need to vote on.
City Manager Doug Elliott explained, “At the meeting on Dec. 19 council held a work session to discuss funding for the Oxford Area Trail. As a result of the discussion, Mayor [Kate] Rousmaniere requested proceeding with legislation to place an additional property tax levy on the May 8, 2018 ballot.
“Purpose of the proposed levy is for the Oxford Area Trail. Proposed language is stated for Parks and Recreational purposes, which follows the Ohio Revised Code Section 5705.19 Paragraph H. This section gives the purposes for which a tax levy that exceeds th,e ten-mill limit can be adopted by a municipality.
“The Resolution of Necessity must be adopted by a vote of two-thirds of the city council members. Proposed tax levy will be voted outside millage and it will be a fixed rate, as proposed. If adopted by the voters, it will be subject to tax reduction factors.”
He added, they will adopt all three resolutions, requesting that the Butler County Auditor provide and certify certain information. The auditor will provide the certificate which will provide the revenue which will be raised by a certain rate and all information necessary for the ballot issue. The city is approving three resolutions so backup resolutions are already certified in case they need to be pursued instead.
The first option would levy two and five tenths mills, which is an additional levy of two and five tenths mills, to run for 10 years. According to Elliott, this will raise a total of $7.4 million.
The second option would levy three and twenty-five hundredths mills, which is an additional levy of three and twenty-five hundredths mills, to run for 10 years. According to Elliott, this will raise a total of 49.7 million.
The third option will levy three and sixty-five hundredths mills, which is an additional levy of three and sixty- five hundredths mills, to run for 10 years. According to Elliott, this will raise a total of $10.9 million.
Councilman Glen Ellerbe was concerned the lowest (first) option would be too low, but Councilwoman Edna Southard countered they wanted an array of options so they would be sure to get something passed, even if it is the lowest option.
Council will still have to decide which option to pursue and they hope to do so at the next January meeting, but before that can be done staff must receive the certification from the auditor, which must be issued within 10 days of the city submitting the request.
If the certification is received before the agenda is made for the meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 16, then the issue will be further discussed then.
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH