RIO GRANDE — The Rio Grande Community College Board of Trustees gathered Wednesday to discuss the potential of passing a resolution which could lead to the board asking the Gallia Board of Elections to place on the May ballot a replacement levy issue.
A previous levy to fund the institution was defeated during the general election last year.
Trustees discussed the need for more “boots on the ground” as part of a campaign strategy. Some trustees felt their strongest precinct support in the previous election came from neighborhoods where trustees knocked on doors. Alumni of the institution would potentially be asked to volunteer their time in a such and effort. Some college officials say they felt their weakest support came from the more rural corners of the levy’s precinct coverage area and that that may need to be a key focus area in a new levy campaign. A decision needs to be reached by early February for the levy to once again appear on the ballot.
Voters in Gallia, Meigs, Jackson, Vinton and a small portion of Hocking counties would vote on the levy. The proposal concerning the previous levy filed with the respective board of elections offices for Meigs and Gallia counties, previously stated, the levy is “for a continuing period of time.”
The first 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. A replacement levy would continue to support Rio Grande Community College.
According to Rio Grande Community College President Dr. Michelle Johnston, ballot language from the previous election would likely be used if the trustees push forward with a new levy election campaign. Last election’s ballot asked Gallia citizen’s for “A replacement of a tax for the benefit of Rio Grande Community College for the purpose of payment of operating costs at a rate no exceeding 1 mill for each one dollar of valuation, which amounts to $0.10 for each one hundred dollars of valuation, for a continuing period of time, commencing in 2017, first due in calendar year 2018.”
The current levy, which has been collected since the 1976 tax year generated $115,919.93 in Meigs County in 2016. In comparison, the replacement levy, according to the previous campaign information distributed by the college, should all taxes be paid, would‘ve generated an estimated $385,928.25 in Meigs County. Previous figures from Gallia County indicated that the new levy would‘ve generated $794,218.31.
Over the region in which the levy would be collected, a total of $2,021,517.05, would’ve been generated according to the auditor’s certification figures in regards to the previous campaign information.
The replacement levy is a tax that is based on current property evaluations. During the previous campaign, it was stated if the levy passed, a homeowner owning property worth $100,000 would 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.
“We have worked hard over the past 43 years to use community tax dollars responsibly. And we will continue to do so,” said Johnston previously. “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.”
Dean Wright can be reached at 740-446-2342 or the Gallipolis Daily Tribune Facebook page.