Northville Central School District officials are trying to persuade district residents to vote on Feb. 23 in favor of a $3.86 million renovation project proposition.
On Thursday, the district issued a news release stating that the local share of the cost of the project would require school taxes to increase 2.97 percent each year for 15 years. The projection is less than an estimate of 3.44 percent released by the district last week.
Northville district Business Manager Bruce Ellsworth said the lower tax estimate reflects the 70 percent state aid the district would receive for the project. He said bundling all of the proposed renovation projects together is less expensive for district voters because the state provides funding for large capital projects.
“If you tried to do these renovations individually, you’d be looking at 100 percent local tax levy money paying for it,” Ellsworth said.
The project would install 175 energy efficient windows; update the gym with a new roof, doors, boiler and pull-down dividers to replace inoperable partitions; pave the south parking lot; renovate the district’s 1950s-era home economics room and science labs; install wireless Internet access and add new computers; install a swipe-card security system for staff; and replace the bus garage’s 2,000-gallon underground fuel tank with an above-ground 500-gallon tank.
Northville Central School District Superintendent Kathy Dougherty said she’s been meeting with groups of district constituents to help promote the plan. She said she’s cautiously optimistic that the proposition will receive voter approval, in part because of the financial risks of not doing the renovations.
“The response has been really quite positive,” she said. “If we had to do emergency repairs, we would not receive state aid for that. If something like the fuel tank of the bus garage were to start leaking, that could cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.”
According to district calculations, the school tax increase needed for the project would cost the owner of a property with an assessed value of $100,000 $21 more per year without any School Tax Relief assistance from the state. The same property owned by a resident with primary residence STAR benefits would pay $15 more per year. If a resident with senior citizen STAR benefits owned the house, the increase would be $8 per year.
Ellsworth said the district chose to put the proposition in front of voters in February to separate the issue from the district’s operating budget, which will be voted on in June.
He said municipal bond rates are also historically low right now. He said he expects that the district could get bonds priced at 4 percent interest.
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Categories: Schenectady County