Saturday, July 24, 2010

Two Cans of Pop (by Mike Stegall)

Whenever there is a complex problem or a real controversy, the most enjoyable part of the solution to me is trying to put the solution into words that people can relate to. By doing this, I think it makes what I am trying to get across simpler to understand. The biggest controversy in the Greenville area right now is the school bond issue. There is so much emotion on both sides of the argument that sometimes the actual facts get lost. This is a very important subject to a lot of people and needs to be looked at rationally.

The arguments for a new 5th to 8th grade school are obvious to anyone who has been to our schools. They are old, not equipped for the modern era in teaching, contain asbestos, are terribly costly to maintain, and in some cases, dangerous. Even opponents to the bond issue must admit that the buildings are outdated. The opponents to the bond issue normally have two issues with the levy: 1) It will raise taxes in a terrible economy right now for a long time, and 2) A lot of people are on a fixed income and can’t afford any more. Both are extremely good arguments, and true to a degree, but lets take a deep breath and look at both arguments logically and with a cool head.

The first argument is true. Your taxes will go up. How much? Well, if your home is worth $100,000, the amount per year will be $106.78! How did I get that number? I talked to the Auditor’s Office, not the school board. This is how it works out: on a $100,000 home you are only taxed on 35% of the value, or $35,000. The bond is a 2.89 mil plus .5% classroom facility bond, which is required for a total of 3.39 mils. (This is less than the emergency operating levy voted and approved in May of 2009 that took effect in February of this year which was 3.91 mils)! Anyway, $35,000 times 3.39 mils ($35,000x.00339= $118.65.) Now the total is $118.65, but everybody in the district, excluding industry and commercial businesses, gets a 10% rollback on their taxes. So, $118.65 minus the 10% rollback = $106.78.( I know, I know, it’s a lot of numbers, but bear with me!) Now, let’s divide that by 52 weeks in a year and it comes to $2.06 per week! This amount is less than a Big Mac, a pack of cigarettes, one gallon of gas, or two cans of pop per week! Pretty cheap when you break it down like that, isn’t it?

As for the other argument, well if you think about it logically, most people are on a fixed income. What do I mean? Look at it this way: if you get a paycheck every week, like most of us do, then you know how much you are getting every week. You get the same amount all the time. Your income is fixed. It is the same every week, unless of course you are on commission or get overtime. What do you do when something unexpected happens and your paycheck is the same all the time? You do like the rest of us. You make do the best you can! It makes it tougher to get by, but we all manage somehow, don’t we?

I am just like all of you, a property owner who hates paying taxes. Taxes, unfortunately, are a necessary evil. In this case they will provide a new school for our 5th thru 8th graders. I guess you can look at anything and pick it apart. I choose to look at everything in a simple light. So, to me the question for the opponents of the school levy is this: Are the children in the Greenville School District worth two cans of pop a week? I can live without them, and I am sure you can, too.

31 comments:

  1. well said, mr. stegall.

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  2. not against a new school but the numbers will change in 2012 after the new tax aprasials take place.

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  3. I'm not sure this is looking "at both arguments" when you are clearly for the school levy. All you’ve done is point out that the people against the levy don't want to pay more taxes. I don't think that has ever been at issue, no one wants to pay more taxes.
    I believe a lot of people are tapped out and don't have anywhere else to cut their own budget. It's like anything else in life, if you can't afford it you don't buy it. I would have loved to buy a new vehicle when the government was giving cash for clunkers but, I couldn't afford it so I didn't buy.
    I think the school board needs to take a look from a different perspective and not focus so much on the money provided by the state. It would be nice if we all could afford it.

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  4. some property taxes may go up and some will go down in 2012 ,this will change the amount of property values.

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  5. who approves the comments?

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  6. Thank you Mr. Stegall for your information but property owners must also be aware that in Feb. of 2011 their taxes will be going up due to the reassement. So if the levy passes their property taxes will reflect more than what is being requested for the levy due to the re-evaluation of property. I also keep hearing about this roll back Obama may do away with which will mean the "savings" will be gone so another raise in taxes.

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  7. Why are raises being handed out to gcs administration for "extra hours" being spent when they are all salary. It is easy to vote yes on a levy when you can give yourselves raises. I've taken a pay cut and there is little chance of that improving.

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  8. Just a reminder to all property owners that most in likely you will see an increase to your property taxes in Feb. 2011 due to the re-evaluation of property that has taken place the past 2 yrs. So whether the levy passes or not, property owners will be paying more next yr in real estate taxes

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  9. Where do you buy your pop?, at the court house?
    I looked at your figures for pop costing 2.06 for 2 cans per week.
    I can go to W.M. and buy a case of pop for some times 5.00 a case that brakes down about .21 cents a can. If the price per case is 7.00 a case that brakes down to about to .29 cents per can.

    In my opinion using the price of pop for property tax is more misleading material and shows Mr. Stegall has been bought up by the levy people hoping to get more votes.
    As some one running for county commissioner I would have rather heard comments from him from his level of jurisdiction area. This does not include the school. This shows another example of political figures joining others of his kind just to reach an objective on hand.
    I am disappointed not from the pop figures or his opinion but the fact that he is running for commissioner and thinks his opinions should include areas that he will not be elected to be in charge of. I was for you Mr. Stegall and planed to vote for you but now I must look to vote for some one else.

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  10. I agree with 9:35.If you are or think your smart enough to run for a office in this county why compare a school bond to pop.Why not just tell the truthand say what you mean

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  11. That is fine, but I based my figures on a can of pop in a pop machine costing $1.25 a can. (I know that is what they cost because I fill our pop machine at work.) If I offended you by trying to show a comparison of a normal cost, I am sorry. As for being "brought up" by the levy people, why do you think I used the numbers from the Auditors office, not the school board?I have a feeling that you weren't voting for the levy no matter what. As for me not being in charge of the schools as commissioner, I can tell you this will effect everyone. Positive image projection as it relates to obtaining industry is vital. May I ask why you seem so angry at people trying to modernize and upgrade our city? The longer we put things off, the more they will cost in the future. Prices are not going down.

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  12. WOW! you are charging 1.25 per can at your work place! Your ripping your own employees off on every can of pop they buy. You should be ashamed of your self.
    Weather I vote for or against the levy, it is my right not to tell you.

    As far as you said " putting things off" and "more cost in the future", No argument their. Another reason the schools should have fixed things as they go, not to put a band aid on items with the thought of "down the road plans"

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  13. You are right about putting things off, some of the repair issues should have been done when they first became an issue. If I left my house repairs till later the amount of course will increase because there will be additional repairs to add to the first repairs so yes it will cost me more and the price of things rarely go down, thats why I repair things now, not later. I work in a "new school" (out of town) and we were told the new bldgs will last about 10yrs till repairs will be needed-what then-another increase in taxes? Also if the middle school gets a new blg of course we will need a new high school because who would want to attend a high school that lacked all the fine technology one received during their jr high yrs. Then if the high school gets revamped, why not a elementary school-this will only be the beginning of a very long road paved by property owners

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  14. Ok, so criticize mike for using the word "can" instead of the word "bottle."

    You're all still missing the point in the $2.06 per week is a VERY good deal to get a new school.

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  15. Mike has the confiedence to write down all his idea and distribute them publicly. Even if I don't agree with everything, I admire his efforts to make forward progress and put his own ideas on the line ... unlike the anonymous commenters here, who I can assume are not writing op-eds in their own name and running for commissioner.

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  16. If it is indeed true some school employees recently got raises, ummm not good. And as for the 2.06 per wk-prices continue to go up on pop. I don't buy much pop-drink water(from the faucet) but a yr ago I bought a 12 pk and paid 1.99, now if you get it on sale its 2.50 or higher so the 2.06 will eventually go up too-just wait and see

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  17. A few things:

    Even if we all agree that repairs "should" have been done, it cannot be argued that the need to replace currently exists. Regardless of how we got here, we are at this point. Blame who you want, it will not change the past. It's essentially a sunk cost and we can only change how we approach the future.

    Also, please, for the sake of me, do not base your decision on this levy on the prospect of some other levy in the future.

    Maybe they'll ask for a high school later. Maybe they'll ask for an elementary, or both. It does not matter in regards to this issue.

    Vote no on those if you'd like. It simply cannot be denied that these buildings need replaced.

    Also, the $2.06 itself will never increase. It's a fixed bond amount. It cannot increase.

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  18. Everyone needs to check out what boris said on the live chat on the Daily Advocate's website. He made some interesting points!!!

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  19. One last time--- I think I speak for a lot of senior citizens in Greenville. We live on a fixed income, we love children, we like Greenville. Social Security and pensions are stagnant, interest and dividends are non-existant; Real Estate taxes have already gone up (although the value of our houses has fallen----figure that one out !) and RE taxes are scheduled to increase once more soon--without this bond. Those are the facts. This is simply not the time.

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  20. There was a comment in the chat box that makes a lot of sense to me .Why not build a new high school and revamp the old high school.To me this makes the most sense at city and state level.I know the state dictates who builds what but if they would use there head this makes the most sense of any plan Ive herd yet and would save money in the long run for the city and the state.

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  21. To pass a bond issue only earmarks that amount only. The money that originally came out of the general fund to cover building expenses can now be used to pay for wage increases to the staff. Guess who would get the biggest share of that?

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  22. Thanks, Mike! I appreciate the way you laid it out!

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  23. I keep hearing people comment on how the South school is filthy and not maintained well.
    My Mother in law attended grandparents night and said the bathrooms were absolutely filthy, she retired from a different school system and was disgusted.
    My guess is that the levy fails, and that will play a hand in it.

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  24. Leave vengeance for the school administration and the teachers’ union out of the school bond vote. Mike Stegall’s mathematical assessment of the cost of the school bond issue, although perhaps not perfect, moves us away from the fantasies of the proponents and opponents. The teaching profession and administration, insulated by a union, are out of touch with the harsh economic realities to which the remaining citizens are being subjected. In today’s world a tenured system with a hundred and eighty plus work days, outstanding health care and retirement is a utopian dream.
    Not once has the Superintendent dealt with the issue brought up by Rep. Jim Zehringer – that industries are fleeing Ohio communities, even those with brand new schools, because the taxes are too high. Obviously regarding industry, “build it and they will come” did not work. An Advocate article by a major local employer stating that an increasing number of high school graduates are not adequately prepared for manufacturing jobs has not been comprehensively addressed.
    The school Superintendent’s plea for a new building based on the age of existing schools is bogus. The highly successful school system in Coldwater still uses the same structure that was built over 70 years ago. Obsolescence is more a function of maintenance and management; slum conditions are the product of slum lords and tenants.
    Nevertheless I am voting “yes”. The 19 million dollar state contribution returning some of our tax dollars cannot be overlooked. Regarding the superintendent and the teachers’ union, their new contract should contain a 5% cut as their contribution to the community and the children.

    "Resent - first posting 072510 late afternoon"

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  25. Former Grade Scholer at South SchoolJuly 26, 2010 at 10:45 AM

    I will give an objective opinion here. I went to South School, from from'69 - '76. I no longer live in Greenville, actually live in Florida. But I am interested in Greenville, my parents are both are buried in Greenville. I still have friends there. I enjoyed growing up there. That all being said, here is my opinion. How can anyone put a price on the future of our country, at least your small part of it. Our children need the foundation given to them, so they may have the same opportunities we had has children. If the state of South School is such it needs repaired, than vote for the levy. This should be a no brainer. I truly understand how this will effect some of you. Challenge yourself to save the $2 per week. I recently had to purchase another vehicle. I really wasn't in a position to at this time, but had no choice. I gave up bowling, which I truly love to do, this will save me about $80 a month. You all must make sacrifices for the future of Greenville, and for your children/grandchildren. Thanks for allowing me to voice my opinion on this matter. It matters to more people than you think.

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  26. bob are you kidding me did I just hear you say EARMARK you do realize this is Greenville not Washington. I must say your correct on Matter there were raises given however Susie was not one of them.. there a few that got the raise, they were asked to take on more jobs requiring more hours and days that must be at school they have cut the administration 3 years in a row I have proof of that coming from memorial hall. Money is not being handed out. I am so tired of all the excuses and the bad talking about everybody. Is this seriously what this town has become SERIOUSLY.... I am leaving for 4 years (college) and I am afraid of what I will come back to...

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  27. Mike, Great post. You make a lot more sense than that braying jackass (the sign at his farm must be a portrait of him) South of town.

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  28. I just finished a School Finance class from the University of Dayton. There, I learned that what Mike is saying is true. Take the market value or your house (say you could sell it for $150,000). You multiply that by 35% in order to determine the assessed value. $150,000*0.35= $52,500. This is your assessed value and the value that that determines how you are taxed for all schools in the state of Ohio. In order to convert 3.39 mils to a decimal form, you must divide by 1000. 3.39/1,000= 0.0039. To know how much more you will have to pay in taxes, you multiply your assessed value by the rate. $52,500*0.00339= $177.98. (Note that Mike used different starting numbers). If you live in your house, you will receive a 10% rollback credit. $177.98*0.10= $17.80. That is what you will save, which means you will pay $177.98-$17.80= $160.18. However, if you live in the house that you own, which most people do, you get an additional 2.5% credit. That means $177.98*0.125= $22.25 in credit. So you would pay $177.98-$22.25= $155.73. You can divide that number to make it fit into your budget however you deem necessary.

    I was a teacher at Greenville and I was cut from my position. When that happened, my husband and I lost 37% of our income. We made changes in our lifestyle and now we are living on a lot less than what we were before. Every house has places where they could cut, it is just finding your individual priorities. For us, it was the DVR that had to go. For Mike, it is two pops. Maybe it involves cutting coupons to use at the grocery store or buying generic instead of name brand. The point he is trying to make is that most people can reduce $2.00 in their budget a week. Based on my numbers, it would be $3.00 a week since I used a slightly higher market value of home.

    Also, let me say this. In my class, I also learned that due to HB920, which is House Bill 920, Greenville schools will not receive any more money for this levy in the event that the appraisal of your home increases from the 2011 reappraisal. HB920 says that if you pay $155.73 a year to the school based on your current appraisal value, that value will remain the same even if the market value of your home increases from $150,000 to $165,000. You will not pay any more than the what you use to vote. That makes this a good time to pass a levy. If you pass the levy now, it will be passed on your current market value. If your market value goes UP, your taxes paid to the school will remain the same.

    From the viewpoint of the school, HB920 is frustrating because inflation impacts the value of the homes in the community, but the school does not see that inflation in the taxes. So even though it costs more for the school to buy food for the cafeteria, supplies for the classroom, and training for its teachers, the school receives the same amount of money until another levy is passed. From the viewpoint of the taxpayer, it saves the day! You pass a levy before your taxes increase and you get to pay the same amount of money each year, regardless of the amount of your home at reappraisal.

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  29. One last thing I feel the need to address is you as a taxpayer need to make sure that you are getting all of your tax credits. Visit the county auditor's webpage at www.darkecountyrealestate.org and make sure that you are getting all of your tax credits. Some of the people in my class found out that they were not getting all of their tax credits

    Elderly and disable, if you are a homeowner 65 years of age or older or totally disabled, you can receive additional property tax relief. This shields you from paying taxes on $25,000. So if you owned my example home above with a market value of $150,000, you would be billed as if your home was only worth $125,000 and taxes would be determined based on this new number. The catch to this is that you have to apply. If you visit the website previously mentioned, you can check to see if you are getting this Homestead Tax Reduction and if you are not receiving it, you can apply to receive it!

    As for those criticizing the way the school spends its money, please know this. The school receives a bondage rating. This is similar to a credit score. If a person has a bad credit score, he or she is not eligible to receive loans. It is based on the way the individual spends his/her money and a few other things such as claims filed to car insurance companies. The school's bondage rating is scored basically the same way. If Greenville City Schools could just spend money any way that it wanted to do so, it would have a poor bondage rating score and would not be eligible to receive a loan to pay for its portion of the new building.

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  30. To all of the residents of Darke County,you can contact the Darke County Educational Center on Sebring-Warner Rd. and get information on any school in Darke County.You can get a breakdown of most positions and what their salaries are.I think residents should know how their school systems are being run,before they decide how they will vote on the up-coming levy.When a levy is defeated see where most of the cuts are made.

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  31. Check your property taxe records and see how much goes to the schools and add up you income tax you pay them, plus this other tax. The city and the county get pennies compared to the schools and they do more for us then the schools. Vote No !!! No is No!

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