Letter to the Editor

Letter to the Editor: Providing additonal information to levy increase questions

Thursday, January 30, 2014

I write this letter to try to provide additional information related to questions that continue to be asked about the levy increase to be voted on in April to fund the proposed new elementary building. It is not my goal to persuade anyone to vote yes or no only to answer questions so they will be informed.

The first question is "How much will this cost me?" Information has appeared in the paper which shows the additional cost for each type of real estate. If any taxpayer would like to calculate his own tax it is easy. Any taxpayer can calculate the new tax by taking the tax paid this year (2013) and multiplying it by 1.48. For example if your property and personal taxes were $1,000 for 2013 you can calculate your 2014 taxes by multiplying $1,000 by 1.48, which shows $1,480 to be your new tax. Renters should be aware of what is called an indirect tax. An example of an indirect tax could be an increase in rent which is a way a landlord might recoup part of the increased tax on his property.

The second question is "Is there a sunset clause in the levy?" After reading the ballot language adopted by the board of education, the answer to this question is NO. When a levy is increased as part of a bond issue the levy only lasts until the bond is paid out. But when a levy is increased as part of a lease purchase agreement the levy is permanent and we will be voting on a lease purchase proposal in April.

The third question is "what will be done with the old buildings?" Little time was spent at any of the meetings on this topic. It was determined that one building might be kept in use by the district. It was suggested by the presenters that if any of the other buildings were to remain vacant for more than a year they should be torn down. The advisory committee agreed. There was no indication this had been discussed by the school board.

One additional point of interest is a question I raised during the December advisory committee meeting. This question was prompted due to a phone call I received before the meeting. This question is "Have there been any discussions with the city regarding infrastructure and the fact that much of the building site is outside of the city limits?" At the time of that meeting the representatives indicated no discussions had taken place and they seemed unaware that part of the site was outside the city limits. No feedback has been provided at any of the remaining committee meetings, however, it seems reasonable to think that following the December meeting some discussions may have taken place.

My last comment is, this is an important issue and everyone in the district has a vested interest in the outcome of the election. For this reason I encourage everyone with an opinion on this matter to be sure to vote in April.

May the side with the most votes win.

--Roger Blakely, Marshall