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Last updated: July 26. 2013 4:13PM - 256 Views
Bryan Walters
bwalters@heartlandpublications.com



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Dear Editor,


This is not a letter asking you to vote for against the levy, but is simply giving all the facts so that voters will be able to make an educated decision.


In the upcoming election, one important item on the ballot will be the excess levy. The levy will authorize additional funds for the fiscal year beginning on July 1, 2014, and continuing for the next five years, ending with the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2018.


Many people around the county are arguing for the levy because it will “only raise your taxes $1.” While this may technically be true, they have neglected to present the rest of the story. If the levy isn’t passed, your taxes will go down.


Let’s walk through an example. Assume John Q. Public owns and lives in a home worth $100,000. This is considered tax class 2. Currently, the taxes breakdown like this:


ENTITY


CURRENT


TAX


PROPOSED


TAX


WITHOUT


MILL RATE


MILL RATE


EXCESS LEVY


STATE OF WV


0.005


$ 3.00


0.005


$ 3.00


$ 3.00


COUNTY


0.286


$ 171.60


0.286


$ 171.60


$ 171.60


SCHOOL


0.388


$ 232.80


0.388


$ 232.80


$ 232.80


SCHOOL EXCESS*


0.4096


$ 245.76


0.459


$ 275.40


0


BOND LEVY


0.0682


$ 40.92


0.0682


$ 40.92


$ 40.92


TOTAL


$ 694.08


$ 737.72


$ 448.32


(*The levy on the ballot is responsible for this amount.)


Now let’s assume the home is not occupied by the owner or is commercial property. This is considered tax class 3 or 4 depending on if the property is in or out of an incorporated area. The definition of non-owner occupied is fairly broad. It could be a house that you’ve let your kids or parents move into. It doesn’t even matter if they are paying you rent. All that matters is, they are not the owners. The taxes on this property will be twice what they are in the example above. It would require the owner to pay $1475.44 with the levy and $896.64 without the levy. (All personal property is taxed at the higher tax class.)


If the current levy does not pass in November the taxpayer illustrated above will save either $289.40 or $578.80 depending on the tax class. (This savings is just on the real estate and does not include any personal property this person may have.) This savings will be every year over the next five years.


If you don’t own property, the levy may still affect you. The property owners may not want to take the excess money out of their profit. They may pass it on to the renter as increases in rent.


Sincerely,


Sharon Drain


Mason County, W.Va.


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