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Liberty BOE tries once more with new levy

LIBERTY — Liberty school officials will try again to get voter support for a 2.5-mill, five-year additional levy to raise $564,018 annually for permanent improvements.

At a special meeting on Monday, the board of education took the final step to place the levy on the Nov. 3 general election ballot.

Treasurer Maureen Lloyd said the 2.5-mill levy is the same levy defeated earlier by voters in the April primary election.

She said the additional levy would be only for permanent improvements to roofs, parking lots, buses, buildings and grounds. Lloyd said none of the money will be used for operations, such as salaries.

She said the district does not currently have sufficient funds for necessary permanent improvements.

The levy that was defeated would have generated $560,000 per year.

Voters in the Liberty school district voted down the 2.5-mill levy 53 percent to 47 percent in April, according to results from the Trumbull County Board of Elections.

Officials have said the 2.5-mill levy was put in place to replace the 4.2-mill bond issue that expires in December. The bond issue originally was approved in 1997 and was used to build the high school. The bond will collect $925,000 this year. In order to maintain the three district buildings once the bond falls off, the new levy needs to generate enough money to cover the basic costs.

The district has other needed repairs in mind but after hearing complaints from residents, officials wanted to ensure some tax income instead of risking none by renewing the bond.

If the levy passes in November, the school district will begin collecting money in 2021.

In other business, the board also approved a first reading for placing a renewal of an existing five-year operating levy also on the November ballot.

Officials said the county auditor will determine the exact millage needed to generate $740,680 annually for emergency needs of the district.

The deadline to place an issue on the November ballot is early August.

Also, the board approved entering into a contract with York Mahoning Mechanical Contractors at $89,950 for replacement of five rooftop HVAC units at the high school building.

Board President Calvin Jones said the units are 22 years old and need replaced to heat the building properly.

Officials said the five current units are beginning to fail.

He said the work will be done shortly to prepare for the upcoming school year. Although, it is not official whether students and staff will be in school.

“It is important we get this done before bad weather traditionally and seasonally begins in the fall. Regardless of whether students are in the schools or on some adjusted schedule due to COVID-19, we can’t afford to wait on these units to be replaced and operational regardless of what the schedule for reopening may be. They are 22 years old and we had a lot of adequate use out of them,” Jones said.m

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