A replacement tax levy which would have provided additional financial support for Rio Grande Community College (RGCC) was soundly defeated in Tuesday's general election.
The one-mill operating levy was first approved in 1974 by the voters in the four-county community college area which includes Gallia, Jackson, Vinton and Meigs counties. It was passed as a continuous levy, which means it did not expire after a certain period. However, due to the tax-rollback factor, RGCC has been restricted to the property-tax values in force when the levy was passed.
If the 1-mill replacement levy would have passed, the millage would have remained the same, but the tax income would be based on current property-tax values. Jackson County Auditor Clyde Holdren told The Telegram that a property owner with a $100,000 house in the county would have paid an additional $35 a year had the levy been approved.
However, the tax levy lost by a total of nearly 4,000 votes, with 11,927 voting against the issue and 8,060 voting for it. The levy lost in each of the four counties and came the closest to being approved in Gallia County, which is where the University of Rio Grande and RGCC is located. The margin was not quite 2 to 1 against the levy in both Jackson and Meigs counties with about 59.5 percent voting against it in Vinton County.
While the replacement levy was defeated, RGCC will be able to continue receiving tax revenue from the 1974 tax levy.
In a statement released Wednesday morning, RGCC President Dr. Michelle Johnston said despite the outcome, Rio will continue its efforts to provide quality education to the four-county area.
"We are truly grateful for the support we received in all four counties," Johnston said. "While this was not the outcome we were hoping for, we will continue to use the resources we have to provide a quality education at an affordable price for a stronger community."
This was the first time the college had returned to the ballot in 43 years. During this time, Rio stated it "has used these local funds to directly impact the quality of its academic programs and to support its commitment to an affordable educational option for citizens in the region."
Rio planned to use the levy dollars "to support critical educational programs that serve regional and community needs, focusing on preparing today and tomorrow's workforce."
"Although the levy did not pass, we would like to take this opportunity to thank our campaign volunteers for all of their help over the past several months," Dr. Johnston said. "They have worked tirelessly to educate their communities on the importance of Rio Grande Community College and inform voters of the impact this levy would have had on the success of our college, the local economy and future students throughout the area. These important conversations must and will continue."
The RGCC statement did not address whether another attempt may be made to pass a replacement levy or if there would be any specific negative impacts because the levy was defeated.
For more information about Rio Grande Community College, please visit rio.edu.
Posted: Monday, November 13, 2017
Article comment by:
SMSgt Carl G. Corvin
Once again the "Tax and Spenders" did not fully explain the Tax Levy-- "it is a replacement Levy"-- the DEVIL is in the detail! Millage ( TAX rate) remains the same-- but-- here is the Devil-- the millage will be based on todays values-not 43 years ago-- an average of $35.00 more per year on a $100,000.00 property. This is quite similar to the tax plan being rammed through the US Senate and House of Reps. No full disclosure of the details and the real costs-- The smoke-filled room it is being assembled in is a secret to anyone wanting to know what is going on in the chamber! IMHO- If you receive Social Security, use Medicare-- both paid for by your hard work for decades-- you will NOT like what this TAX bill will do to your income! 'Nuff Said!