NEW CUMBERLAND-There are many ways to assess the cost of public education in Hancock County. But the one that hits closest to home is the cost reflected on a homeowner's annual tax bill.
Hancock County residents pay local taxes for libraries, the Hancock County Animal Shelter, the Hancock County Sheltered Workshop, police protection, public schools and other county services.
An estimated 64 percent of the local property taxes levied in Hancock County goes to support the public schools, according to the Hancock County Assessor's Office.
Levy rates for the counties and cities in Hancock County
"Only 31 cents of every $100 collected (in property taxes) leaves Hancock County. Ninety-nine percent stays in Hancock County," county Assessor Joseph Alongi said. "A very large component of that goes to the schools and public safety. That's what local property taxes are designed for."
Three school levies currently appear on the tax bill: the current levy, the excess levy and the bond levy. The latter was approved by voters in 2010 to pay for the construction of a new elementary school in Weirton and extensive renovations and additions to the county's other school buildings.
Although temporary, the bond levy, calculated to generate $37 million, will appear on tax bills for approximately another 23 years, said Joe Campinelli, finance director for Hancock County Schools.
The excess levy comes up for renewal every five years and generates an estimated $7.1 million toward the school district's annual budget. The levy is collected at different rates per $100 of assessed valuation, depending on whether the property is owned or not owned by the occupant and whether the property is in an incorporated or unincorporated part of the county, Alongi said.
The median home value in Hancock County is $75,000, and taxes are assessed on 60 percent of the home's market value, Alongi said. In the case of a $75,000 home, taxes are paid on $45,000.
Out of a total tax bill of $605, the owner of a $75,000 home can expect to pay $206 a year on the excess levy, assuming the home is in an unincorporated area and there is no homestead exemption, Alongi said.
The other school levy on the tax bill is the current levy, whose rate is set by the state.
Of the school district's $43 million annual budget, an estimated $13 million is generated by local property taxes-$7.1 million from the excess levy and $6 million from the state-mandated current levy, Campinelli said.
The balance of the school's budget comes from the state aid funding formula, known as the Public School Support Program, and a variety of state and federal grants, Campinelli said.