Debt levy decreased, property values increase

By Samantha Scheltema
Mason News staff write

The debt levy for Mason Public Schools has decreased from $4.7 million to $3.7 million since 2004: this was the positive news. The not-so-positive news has been the resulting proposal to increase the property value from $3.7 to $3.8 million.

At the Board of Education meeting on Sept. 14, 2010, Superintendent Mark Dillingham proposed the increase in property value in order to help decrease the debt levy even more. “The drastic drop in property values and higher number of foreclosures has decreased from the debt levy in 2010,” Dillingham said. Changing the property value has been recommended by the legal counsel.

Ralph Beebe, vice president of the board, said he couldn’t support this increase. “Not unless we absolutely need it, I need a consultant to come in and say we need this tonight,” Beebe said.

When further questioned, Dillingham said the legal counsel advised this so “instead of dwindling away at the funds we have available, let’s try to ease into the increase that will happen anyway.”

The difference was $67,000. The schools will get that much more money by increasing the property value to $3.8 million. Beebe still did not agree with his proposal, reiterating that the board shouldn’t do this unless it is needed.

Another issue that was brought up by Trustee Tom Cochran, who said he believed the board needed to be transparent for this issue since the general public may not realize this issue. Dillingham argued that the meetings are open to the public so therefore making sure everyone has the information is not their job. But, since it was proposed, he said they could put the information in the Mason Public Schools newsletter.

After discussing the situation and getting a clearer picture, the motion was passed with only Beebe against it.

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