RIO GRANDE — Rio Grande Community College announced Wednesday that it will seek a replacement levy issue on the ballot for the Nov. 7 election. This is the first levy the school has had on the ballot in 43 years.
Voters in Gallia, Meigs, Jackson, Vinton and a small portion of Hocking counties will vote on the levy. The proposal concerning the levy filed with the respective board of elections offices for Meigs and Gallia counties, states, the levy is “for a continuing period of time.”
“This levy comes at a critical time for the residents Rio serves,” said Dr. Michelle Johnston, president of the University of Rio Grande and Rio Grande Community College stated in a news release. “Rio helps the area economy by giving local students access to a high-quality education at an affordable price. This levy will help us continue to provide students with the resources they need to succeed. With locations in Gallia, Jackson, Meigs and Vinton counties, Rio is critical for our communities.”
The levy was established in 1974 to support Rio Grande Community College. Over the past 43 years, Rio has used local support to directly impact the quality of its academic programs and to support its commitment to an affordable educational option for citizens in the region. The replacement levy will continue to support Rio Grande Community College.
The levy, which has been collected since the 1976 tax year generated $115,919.93 in Meigs County in 2016. In comparison, the replacement levy, should all taxes be paid, would generate an estimated $385,928.25 in Meigs County.
Figures from Gallia County indicate that the levy could generate $794,218.31.
Over the region in which the levy would be collected, a total of $2,021,517.05, would be generated according to the auditor’s certification figures.
The replacement levy is a tax that is based on current property evaluations. If the levy passes, a homeowner owning property worth $100,000 will pay an additional $2.39 per month, according to a press release from URG.
Currently, the levy is based on property values at the time it was approved by voters, meaning that the value is assessed on what the properties were worth in the 1970s rather than 2017.
“We have worked hard over the past 43 years to use community tax dollars responsibly. And we will continue to do so,” said Dr. Johnston. “We have been able to better serve residents of Meigs, Jackson and Vinton counties by establishing local locations. This levy will allow us to stay in those locations.”
“Rio is a critical part of the four-county area,” said Paul Reed, Chairman of the Rio Grande Community College Board. “Not only does Rio provide students with an affordable education, our school also helps support the local economy. Eighty percent of our full-time employees live in the four-county area. Rio helps our community keep local talent, local.”
“(The college) is a vital institution in the community,” said James Bessette, University of Rio Grande and Rio Grande Community College vice president of marketing and admissions. “It’s critical for Rio and it’s critical for the community.”
Editor’s note: More on the replacement levy in upcoming editions.
Ohio Valley Publishing journalists Sarah Hawley and Dean Wright contributed to this report.