Voters may be asked to approve a new property tax levy for the Westlake City School District in November.
The district is considering putting a 5.9-mill property tax on the ballot that will raise $9.1 million annually for district wide operational costs including minor facility maintenance and staff salaries.
While nothing is set, the school board is expected to vote on the proposal in the late spring.
District officials hope to get voter approval early so they don’t risk running out of money for school programs in 2024, when the district is projected to hit a deficit, according to the district's financial forecast which was conducted last month.
“The Westlake schools and Board of Education have been committed to delivering an excellent education balanced by fiscal responsibility,” Superintendent Scott Goggin said. “Even with this prudent fiscal management, we have reached a point where we are going to hit our deficit.”
Right now, Westlake residents pay roughly $1,153 in property taxes. The average home value in Westlake is $281,000. If approved, a 5.9-mill levy would cost the average homeowner an additional $580.27 annually said Todd Hopkins, the district’s treasurer.
“There’s certainly going to be an effect on our taxpayers if we consider proposing a levy,” he said. “We value the amount and the support we get from the community in order to maintain the quality of education that we provide.”
The district has the second-lowest overall effective millage rate in Cuyahoga County. The last time voters approved a property tax levy was in 2006 for 6.9 mills, Goggin said.
“What our goal is, is to provide the excellent education we do but also be fiscally responsible,” he said. “By being proactive and introducing this now, we can keep the city’s taxes low.”
Westlake isn’t the only local school district considering a tax levy. The Rocky River City School District is also considering a property tax levy next year.
If approved, Westlake’s levy will take effect in 2021.
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