Of the three main levies on the ballot for the city of Athens, all of them passed.
The three levies included funding for Athens City School District, Athens’ senior centers and the Athens City-County Health Department. Only the levy for the Athens City-County Health Department would create an increase in funding, generating $41,000 more per year than it previously had.
Currently, the Health Department levy is a 10-year, 0.3 mill property tax that provides $240,000 in funding per year.
Charles Hammer, administrator for the Athens City-County Health Department, said the people of Athens have been supporting the health services levy since at least 1976, and said the increased amount of money is incredibly important to the department.
“The levy support is critical to fill the gaps for operating expenses for programs, and is the only source of funding for many programs that do not benefit from other sources of support,” Hammer said.
The levy passed with 15,634 out of 24,331 votes, or about 64 percent of the popular vote.
Athens City Schools Superintendent Tom Gibbs said the levy for the school system represents almost 12 percent of the school system’s daily operating budget at about $3.7 million.
“If we would end up not having those funds, we would have to reduce services to our students,” Gibbs said. “When you make reductions of that nature, it impacts things like elective offerings and class size.”
The levy passed with 8,247 of 12,916 votes, or about 64 percent of the popular vote.
Joyce Lewis, executive director of the United Seniors of Athens County, said renewing the levy was vital to the operation of the senior center.
“Right now the levy represents about 88 percent of our budget,” Lewis said. “It has a very strong impact on what we can do, and the kind of programs we can offer.”
Lewis said there would be no increase in taxes by renewing the levy.
The levy passed with 17,212 out of 24,533 votes, or about 70 percent of the popular vote.