By Jeff Gallatin
Bay school board members Monday settled on a proposed 25-year, 1.97-mill capital improvements bond levy for the November ballot.
The measure would raise $16.8 million for improvements and renovations in various district buildings. District officials have said the move will extend the life of various schools in the district for 20 years or more.
Although the board approved the measure 4-0, with President Gayatry Jacob-Mosier absent on a long-planned vacation, board member Amy Huntley was vocal in her preference for a 20-year, 2.26-mill levy, saying people she had heard from preferred going for a shorter levy, particularly with the current low interest rates. Huntley said she was voting for the 25-year plan just to get the levy proposal on the ballot because it is needed.
Board Vice President Michael Caputo, who ran the meeting in Jacob-Mosier’s absence, and board member Bill Selong were both vocal as well in support of the 25-year plan. Both said they believed the smaller, 1.97-mill amount would be easier for many people to approve in the current economic climate. Both said the district would still be getting the benefit of the lower interest rates for a few more years. Caputo said it’s likely the improvements made by the proposal would mean the buildings would still be operating after the levy expires. Board member Bob Piccirilli said he understood Huntley’s point, but said he could live with the 25-year proposal.
Charts drawn up by board Treasurer Debbie Putnam show the annual levy cost for a home valued at $75,000 would be $45; $100,000, $60; $150,000, $91; $200,000, $121; $250,00, $151; $300,000, $181.
School Superintendent Clint Keener said some financial experts said if the bond retirement account draws enough funds through the years it’s possible the bond levy could be retired one or two years before the end of the 25-year term.
Putnam also noted the levy for the middle school will expire in 2025, meaning it will have been paid off for several years when the proposed improvements levy finishes.