Substitute levy on Niles ballot could mean more money for schools

Local News

A historic levy is on the ballot for the city of Niles. The problem is a lot of neighbors don’t understand what this new levy will do.

Next Tuesday could be the first time a substitute levy would be passed. People in Niles are confused because they never heard of a levy like this before.

The Niles school district has been trying to pass a school levy. Voters rejected levies this past May and last November. This time, the district is trying a new approach.

“A substitute levy for us is combining our two emergency renewal levies into one,” said Lori Hudzik, the Niles schools treasurer.

Monday night, there was an informational meeting to explain to voters why they should pass this substitute levy.

Right now, Niles has two emergency renewal levies worth $1.3 million.

“Combining it is $2.6 million. So the substitute levy takes the $2.6 million and it is a continuous levy,” Hudzik said.

Continuous levies have a lot of neighbors worried that more money will come out of their pockets.

Hudzik and the levy committee says that won’t happen.

“This is money we are already receiving and I think that’s very important. We are already receiving this money and if this levy does pass, then our two renewals will go away,” Hudzik said.

Meaning you don’t have to vote on these two emergency levies ever again. With the substitute levy, the schools would get extra money if you decide to renovate your home or if a new business builds in the district.

“If you’re going to add on a 1,000 square foot patio or addition, just like any other tax, it would increase your property value, which would eventually increase your taxes. That’s not just because of a substitute levy, that’s just any tax,” said Niles City Schools Superintendent Ann Marie Thigpin.

Hudzik says they’re doing this to help the community.

“The community has told us every time we go to vote there’s another levy on it. So, basically, we felt, ‘Well, let’s do a continuous levy,'” Thigpin said.

Thigpen told us the schools will always need the $2.6 million and if the levy doesn’t pass next week, then it’s back to the drawing board because the renewal levy only has two more times to be renewed.

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