(The following article has been reprinted from the February, 2010 Put-in-Bay Gazette, and has been reprinted with permission. Please leave your comments at the end.)
Taxpayers on Middle Bass Island opened their tax bills in January and found something they weren't expecting ..... a hefty increase.
The increase came because the Middle Bass School Board decided to reinstate three separate levies totaling 15.2 mils voted on in 1981 , but which haven't been collected in many years.
Originally, these continuing levies were approved by voters for the board's operating expenses such as paying tuition for Middle Bass students attending Put-in-Bay School, their daily transportation and other expenses. The board voted later to put a hold on collecting the levies when they found they didn't need the money.
In recent years, the board realized it was running in the red. To solve the problem, they decided to reinstate the levies so they could become solvent. They contacted the Ottawa County Auditor who put the levies back on the tax duplicate for 2009 taxes.
This extreme increase in taxes even caught the Middle Bass School Board off guard. They were expecting to collect much less money. When this was discovered, it was too late for the auditor to adjust the tax bills. The board is now working to find a way to refund any overpayment, hopefully about half, plus determine exactly how much of the 15.2 mils is actually needed to meet their expenditures.
Some taxpayers initially thought they were paying back taxes from past years, but this is not the case. The increase, however, is what taxpayers could have been paying all along, had the board never taken the levies off.
Currently, there are five Middle Bass students attending school at Put-in-Bay. Members of the Middle Bass School Board are President Art Wolf, Vice-President Robin Glauser, Katie Schneider, John Glauser and Eddie Sheller. John Schneider is the treasurer.