Superintendent Brian Nelson took the floor to address perhaps the most difficult issue of the meeting--the cost of the proposed project.
The board has proposed $12 million in general obligation bonds on a 20-year repayment schedule, with a current fixed interest rate of 3.5 percent.
immediately pointed out the potential cost to taxpayers.
On a home with a market value of $100,000, the expense would be $6.03 per week or $313.65 per year.
For landowners, the average quarter across the four counties would be billed an additional $1.23 per acre or $196 per quarter, annually.
"Our assessed school evaluation is $151 million," Nelson
said, "and by state law we have a five percent limit of indebtedness for the district.
But we know we're going to need more than $7.6 million for this project.
We need your permission to add five percent more to go into debt."
The board has approved a special election to be held January 9, 2012, with two questions on the ballot.
The first question, which has to be approved by 60 percent of the voter turnout, asks if the school district shall issue general obligation bonds in an amount not to exceed $12 million for the purpose of the building, renovation and remodeling proposal.
The second question, which must be approved by 50 percent of the voter turnout, asks if the debt limit for the district shall be increased five percent, on the assessed value of the district's taxable property, beyond the five percent allowed by the state constitution.
pointed out several factors that could decrease the debt load or reduce the amount of time needed to repay the loan.
mentioned the Enbridge property will be added to the tax rolls next year and that a growing population within the district would add more taxpayers.
discussed the mill levy over the past few years.
"From 2003 to the present, our general fund mill levies have been well below the cap allowed by the state," he
"It was only in the 2007-2008 school year that we had to levy at 185 mills.
We've saved the taxpayers $4.958 million by not levying the maximum number of mills each year."
also reminded the audience that the $313,000 bill for the addition built in 1997, which was originally turned down by voters but pursued by the school board, would be paid in full this year.
"We don't come to the people very often," he
said, "but we have an issue now that we need to do something about.
This has been bottom-driven, and this has come from our teachers, parents and students."
The estimated cost per square foot is $225, but Nelson
said no definite bids could be requested until and if the bond issue were approved.
Talking to the voters
and Lautenschlager answered questions from the audience regarding the impact of a proposed new 900-unit development for Berthold
, increased enrollment and the need for separate elementary and high school buildings.
explained that new development in the community would give the district a higher assessed value, which would allow the district to borrow more funds for building or to pay off projects sooner.
is aware the bond issue will be a tough sell across the large district, but the question is important to all the voters.
"In the Berthold-Carpio area, people see that we need to do this," he said as he talked about the public visiting the Berthold school for various activities.
Persons with further questions about the proposed building project or the special election should contact Lewis & Clark School District Superintendent Brian Nelson at 701-453-3484.