There is an important part in discussing a school’s yearly budget that most may not know about, and it is called the mill levy.
In their past few meetings, the Board of Trustees has been discussing the budget of the 2020-2021 school year. The meetings about the budget also includes the discussion of the mill levy, which is a factor applied to the county to generate taxes. The Trustees first met in on Tuesday, July 14, and then again on Tuesday, Aug. 11 to discuss the mill levy amount.
The trustees voted 5-1 at setting the mill at 16.681 on Tuesday, Aug. 11. The trustees had to revote in their September meeting because the Butler County Times-Gazette did not run the Notice of Public Hearing. In the re-vote meeting held on Tuesday, Sep. 8, the trustees unanimously passed to approve a budget of $14,420,075 and a mill levy of 16.681.
The mill levy is essentially a funding source from Butler County that is set for the college. This funding source comes from taxpayer dollars in the county the college resides in. Some Board of Trustees members were in favor of raising the mill levy, while others were more in favor of lowering it.
Shelby Smith is a Board of Trustees member who ran to be elected as a trustee in the hopes of lowering the mill levy.
“I ran for election on the platform of lowering the mill levy,” Smith said. “I believe we as a board should be able to run a great institution without requiring as much of a demand of the local payers.”
Smith also provided an explanation of how the mill levy values out, while including his comments on it.
“Thirty percent of BCC [Butler Community College]’s entire budget is provided for by the taxpayers of Butler County via the mill levy (approximately $15 million dollars),” Smith said. “Only 20% of BCC students are from Butler County. I do not wish for the taxpayers to feel taken advantage of.”
Although the mill levy was lowered to the value of 16.681, nothing was changed about the college’s overall operating budget.
“The current reduction of next year’s mill levy did not lower the college’s operating budget,” Smith said. “BCC was planning on collecting more taxes next year than is required by the budget. I believe that is unfair.”
The following trustees were contacted but did not reply: Trustee James Howell, Trustee Mary Martha Good, Trustee Lance Lechtenberg, and Trustee Forrest Rhodes. Trustee Julie Winslow was contacted and replied, but because her request to include the full of her interview, her response is not included since we do not publish entire interviews to maintain the balance of a story.