by Linda Holtkamp

By now, the people of Loveland Schools should know about the proposed Loveland School levy, and how the cost of this proposed increase will affect your property taxes.

Currently, 1 Mill is equal to almost exactly $1,000,000, and the school is asking us for 4.9 Mills, additional. The formula to calculate what this proposed levy will cost you is simple. Superintendent Mike Broadwater has a video on the school website with an explanation and many thanks to him for providing that.

Find your property on your County Auditor’s website.¬†Look for “property search” on both Hamilton and Clermont County sites. There you will find both the Appraised Market Value (full appraised value of your home) and also the Assessed Value (the amount that is taxable).¬†Then grab your calculator and use this:

Appraised Market Value (full home or house value) x .35 x .0049 = $$$$

OR, use your Assessed Value (taxable amount) x .0049 = $$$$

With either math formula, the amount you will owe will be the same $$$$.

The .0049 represents the amount of this levy ask… 4.9 Mills, generating a total of close to $4.9 Million Dollars, each year, continuously (permanently), as an operating levy for the schools.¬†

A Google search for current home values in Loveland lists that properties in Loveland range from $40,000 to $2.9 Million. The Grail was going to sell land to the school district for $7.7 Million, so yes, there are some high-value properties that exist here.

The LCSD treasurer used the Zillow website in his presentation at a recent board meeting. Zillow lists the average house value in Loveland, at the end of July, to be $377,047.

Using the average house value that the treasurer listed, $377,047, the calculated increase for an average value home in Loveland, for this school levy, will be about $650 per year. This is a permanent tax, which will be piled on top of the existing 18 continuous (permanent) levies, two permanent inside millage taxes, as well as a 26-year bond levy (which will be paid off in a few years).

69% of homes in Loveland are lived in by the homeowner, while 31% are rental properties, according to RentCafe, a marketing website that tracks these trends.

Homeowners will have to pay the extra costs of this levy, and other recent property taxes that have passed but not yet been billed, starting in January 2023. Landlords can be expected to raise rents to cover the 13% increase in Loveland School taxes, and those other taxes as well. Rentals in Loveland are pricy, average $1,361 for 959 sq. ft., only surpassed locally by rentals in Blue Ash.

Information from the recent Census lists that 6.1% of people in Loveland are under 5 years old, and that 26.3% are under 18 years of age.¬†This would indicate that, out of Loveland’s population, about 20% are school-age children.¬†A good number of those school-age children do not attend Loveland Schools, but opt for private, parochial, charter, or homeschooling.

Residents over 65 years old, seniors, again according to Census numbers, comprise 15.9% of the population of Loveland. It seems there are close to as many senior citizens in Loveland as there are school-age children.

According to the school website, the District serves a population of 50,000, when including those who live both inside and outside of Loveland City proper. Student enrollment in LCSD is approximately 4,000. That works out to 8% of Loveland-at-large residents are students of LCSD.  That means 92% of Lovelanders sacrifice monetarily via property taxes, to educate 8% of the Loveland district population.

Though many residents strongly insist this 13% increase in school property taxes is for the good of the 4,000 current students of Loveland, is there ever any emphasis on how a 13% increase might harm the considerable number of senior citizens in Loveland? The Homestead tax reduction, (aimed at helping seniors) has effectively disappeared, so relief on property taxes is essentially nonexistent. 

For those who feel that not passing this levy will hurt property values… that depends on your outlook.¬†Of all the people who live in Loveland now, according to the Census, 69% were born in Ohio.¬†As a life-long resident myself, I know that many, many of these 69% are “long-term” residents of Loveland.¬†Think of those you know who have made their home here for at least 15 years, as well as those who have lived here for decades.¬†Do we like seeing our property values rise?¬†Of course, we do.¬†But do these permanent levies, which burden us forever, give us a good return on our investment?¬†Or are higher property values more likely to aid those who live here only for a short time?¬†We’ve spent tens upon tens of thousands of dollars to support the schools.¬†Our schools… LCSD.¬†Proudly.¬†Will property value increases repay any of that?¬†Will some residents eventually be forced out of their homes because continual taxation is part of the homeownership costs that are skyrocketing?¬†Admittedly you can’t monetize the value of education.¬†You can’t accurately assess the harm of passing on the cost of these school levies to those who truly can’t afford them, either.

Remember that 2/3 of our community does not have children attending Loveland Schools. But a tax like this, if passed, places a burden on every single resident.. homeowner or renter, school parent or senior. The importance of voting cannot be overstated, and absentee or early in-person voting makes it easy for us all.

Many of us complain about how much is sent to schools already, but these taxes are firmly entrenched, school enrollment numbers continue to drop, and LCSD has been making everything work pretty well with the over $50 Million Dollars per year that they already get (some $35 Million of that from local property taxes… us).¬†They use these funds to educate 4,000 students out of a district population of 50,000… 8% of our community at large.

These funds cannot be taken back, so use them with our blessing.

Don’t ask for more.

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