Mentor Board of Education urging Ohio’s lawmakers to restore tax-relief for senior citizens
   The Mentor Board of Education is urging Ohio’s lawmakers to provide property tax-relief to senior citizens. The board unanimously passed a resolution in April asking the governor and legislators to restore prior property tax-relief in the form of an enhanced Homestead Exemption program.

   “By passing a new operating levy for our district in March, our community members have shown they value providing a high quality education for our children,” said Mentor Board of Education President Sally S. Miller. “But, we realize the decision to increase property taxes can be difficult for some of our senior citizens on a fixed income, and we are asking the state to help.”

   Ohio House Bill 59, enacted in 2013, eliminated a 12.5% property tax rollback for new school district levies for all property owners, and the modifications made to the existing Homestead Exemption program in 2014 now only provide partial relief for qualifying senior citizens. These changes have created a financial burden for many of our residents who are living in their home on a fixed income.

   “Approximately 80 percent of our district’s funding comes from local property taxes,” said Superintendent Matthew Miller. “We are fortunate to live in a supportive community that is invested in protecting what we’ve built in Mentor Schools. But some of our residents need financial relief.”

   The City of Mentor and Mentor-on-the-Lake’s populations are stable, but aging. With the high quality of life that both communities provide, many residents are choosing to stay in their homes, which are often a family’s largest asset.

   “This resolution is our response to the current and future fiscal conditions that are making it more and more difficult for our senior citizens to support high quality education,” Chief Financial Officer Daniel L. Wilson added. “This resolution encourages the Ohio General Assembly to enhance the Homestead Exemption Program to provide additional financial assistance for our senior citizens.”

   The district’s Superintendent and Chief Financial Officer are now reaching out to and meeting with local lawmakers to encourage the introduction of legislation to enhance the Homestead Exemption program. The board’s resolution has been sent to the governor, president of the Ohio Senate, speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives, Ohio legislative leaders, Senator Eklund, Representative Rogers, Representative Young, and Representative Yuko.
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