Voters in the Sidney City Schools District voted down a traditional income tax levy twice in 2013, making it the No. 3 story of the year.

Voters in the Sidney City Schools District voted down a traditional income tax levy twice in 2013, making it the No. 3 story of the year.

In August, voters were asked to approve the five-year, 1 percent, income tax levy, which was slated to replace the expiring emergency 9.9 mill levy and a permanent improvement levy which expired in 2008. The income tax levy, if approved, would have generated $4.77 million per year. The expiring levy generates $4.55 million, while the permanent improvement levy had generated $250,000 per year.

After the levy failed by 140 votes, the Sidney City Board of Education voted to take the issue back to the voters on the November ballot. The levy failed in November by 394 votes.

“This is quite disappointing,” said Superintendent John Scheu after the November election. “But the voters have spoken.”

Both election campaigns were led by Renee Davis, Bill Warner and Dave Rose, who chaired the We Listened, We Acted levy campaign. The campaign members gave presentations throughout the school district explaining that the money collected from the tax would be collected a different way — instead of being generated from property taxes the money would come from an income tax.

“The income tax will be linked to the economy,” said Scheu prior to the August election. “If the economy goes up, and people are seeing their salaries rise, we will see a slight increase and that means more income for the schools. However if salaries sour and layoffs occur, then that will bring us less money. We will be collecting a like amount of money, but it's just a different means of collecting it.”

After the November election, Scheu said the voters delivered two messages to the board of education. First, they don't like the traditional income tax.

“My overriding concern is that the message the voters are sending is that they don't care that we cut our budget. They don't care that we've lived within our means. That they don't care about the sacrifices our staff has made. They are telling us when the 9.9-mill levy comes off the books, we're going to have to find another way to absorb those losses.”

At its December meeting, the BOE took the first step to place a renewal/reduction emergency 9.9 mill levy on the May ballot.

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