Election 2017: Steamboat schools seek approval for $12.9M bond, $1 million mill levy
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Steamboat Springs School District is asking voters’ permission to raise taxes as it launches a multi-year capital projects push that begins with catching up on deferred maintenance
The Steamboat Springs School Board was unanimous in its decision to seek voter approval Nov. 7 both on a $12.9 million bond issue question — Referendum 3D — and a $1 million ongoing capital construction mill levy — Referendum 3C. The former would target district facilities in disrepair, including the roofs of five buildings, and the latter is meant to help ensure the district doesn’t fall behind on facilities maintenance in the future.
The bonded indebtedness would be retired in seven years, a decision made by the school board to reduce the carrying cost of the debt compared to a 10-year bond. The estimated savings is about $1 million.
With the passage of both 3C and 3D, residential property owners, the school board estimates, would pay an additional $3.25 per month, or $39 per year, on a residential property with an assessed for taxes at $500,000. Commercial property owners will pay an estimated additional $36 per month or $434 per year for a commercial property assessed for taxes at $500,000.
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Bond proceeds would allow the district to address its most urgent need — replacing roofs on five buildings. Other projects include refurbishing Gardner Athletic Field and modernizing cooling and heating systems at the middle school.
But the school board has been straight forward in saying that this year’s round of capital requests is just a beginning.
It’s likely that in 2019 or 2020 the district could decide to pursue further funding measures to address more of the capital projects identified this year by Community Committee for Education — CC4E. These include additions to Strawberry Park Elementary School and Steamboat Springs High School and possible construction of a new elementary school.
Beginning with most-urgent needs
The bulk of the bonded indebtedness called for in the 2017 ballot question, an estimated $5.3 million, would be devoted to replacing 20-year-old roofs that have reached the end of their lifespans — including those at Strawberry Park Elementary School, Steamboat Springs Middle School, Steamboat Springs High School and two other buildings.
An estimated $3.6 million would be used to refurbish the athletic facilities at Gardner Field.
That work would include replacing current bleachers where the gaps in the current spectator seating pose a safety risk. The running track, where large patches of the rubberized surface are peeling off, would be replaced, as would the field’s all-season artificial turf.
In a partial explanation of its need to seek property tax increases to get the work done, the district points to actions taken by the state legislature in 2009 to mitigate the impacts of the recession on the state budget by reinterpreting Amending 23 to allocate less money to schools with an action referred to as “the negative factor.”
The Steamboat Springs School District’s share of the negative factor, school officials estimate, was about $2.4 million in 2016 and has compounded to more than $19 million since 2009.
Election 2017 — Routt County ballot issues
Steamboat schools seek approval for $12.9M bond, $1 million mill levy
For complete Steamboat Pilot & Today coverage of the 2017 election, visit steamboattoday.com/news/election.
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