The Delaware Area Career Center has filed a motion with The Ohio Supreme Court asking the court to reconsider its recent decision to deny the DACC funds from a levy passed in 2015.
The motion was filed with the court Monday in response to a March 8 decision by the Ohio Supreme Court that ruled against the DACC in an ongoing legal dispute between the DACC and the Ohio Department of Taxation after tax bills were not to sent to property owners at the start of this year.
The case centered around the DACC’s 2015 renewal levy.
The levy was passed by 10,644 votes in November 2015, and would have begun collecting taxes from voters at the start of this year. However, DACC officials learned in December that the Ohio Department of Taxation would not be collecting the tax bills for the levy because 1,026 voters who live in Franklin, Marion, Morrow and Union counties were not able to vote on the levy when it was on the ballot in 2015.
The Delaware County Board of Elections has taken responsibility for not placing the levy on the ballot in those four counties.
The Career Center filed a Writ of Mandamus with the Ohio Supreme Court on Jan. 17, asking them to intercede after the Department of Taxation refused to collect money for the levy because the 1,026 qualified voters in neighboring counties did not vote on the levy.
On March 8, the Supreme Court ruled 4-3 to deny the Career Center’s request, and said the tax commissioner could not be compelled to calculate tax rates for the five counties, because the board of elections had not certified results from all five counties.
The motion to reconsider, filed on March 20 by the DACC, argues that the Supreme Court’s decision has far reaching implications and gives the Ohio Department of Taxation too much authority.
“We are deeply concerned that [Ohio Tax Commissioner Joseph Testa’s] actions and the subsequent court decision oversteps his authority and disregards the will of thousands of voters who overwhelming approved this levy,” Freeman said Tuesday. “Essentially they granted the tax commissioner unwarranted authority to deny any election outcome. These decisions set a negative precedent for other state and local elections and could place every local levy in Ohio at risk.”
The Ohio School Boards Association, the Ohio Association of School Business Officials, the Ohio Municipal League, the Buckeye Association of School Administrators, the Delaware County Board of Elections, and the Ohio Association of Election Officials have joined in support of the DACC’s Motion, court documents show.
“…the concerns go beyond school districts, to municipalities and any other Ohio taxing districts that rely upon property taxes to conduct government. And they go beyond certainty in the operation of government, to ancillary issues such as credit ratings based on certainty of governmental revenue streams, which ultimately affect taxpayers’ pocketbooks,” wrote the attorneys for the Ohio School Boards Association, The Ohio School Boards Association, the Ohio Association of School Business Officials, the Ohio Municipal League, the Buckeye Association of School Administrators in a filing with the court.
Freeman said the Department of Taxation has 10 days to file a response with the Ohio Supreme Court and after receiving that response the court will make a ruling on whether or not to reconsider.
Freeman said in January the lack of tax dollars will affect the ongoing consolidation project. Freeman said the contractors will be finishing the walls, floors, roof and siding for the new wing of the consolidated campus, but will not be breaking down any walls at the south campus so the structure does not become compromised.
“We are already committed to certain pieces of this process,” Freeman said on March 8. “But we will be taking steps to protect our investment. Our focus has been and always will be remaining fiscally responsible with tax dollars and quality education for our students. Quality instruction is our number one priority.”
The Ohio Department of Taxation had not filed a response Tuesday afternoon.
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG