Election 2017: Steamboat schools seek approval for $12.9M bond, $1 million mill levy | SteamboatToday.com

Election 2017: Steamboat schools seek approval for $12.9M bond, $1 million mill levy

Tom Ross

Plans for addressing the overcrowding at Steamboat's schools start with the Strawberry Park campus.
John F. Russell
  Ballot issue 3C Shall Steamboat Springs School District No. Re-2 taxes be increased up to $1 million in tax collection year 2018 and by such amounts as may be -3- generated annually thereafter by the imposition of an additional mill levy of not to exceed 1.146 mills, pursuant to and in accordance with section 22-54-108.7, C.R.S.; Such additional revenues to be utilized for ongoing cash funding for capital construction, new instructional technology, existing technology upgrades, and maintenance needs of the district; and shall the district be authorized to collect, retain and spend all revenues from such taxes and the earnings from the investment of such revenues as a voter approved revenue change and an exception to the limits which would otherwise apply under Article x, Section 20 of the Colorado Constitution or any other law? Ballot Issue 3D Shall Steamboat Springs School District No. Re-2 debt be increased $12,900,000, with a repayment cost not to exceed $17 million and shall district taxes be increased no more than $2.3 million annually for the purposes of: Repairing and replacing 20 year old roofs at Strawberry Park Elementary School, Steamboat Springs Middle School, Steamboat Springs High School, the district administrative offices and transportation facilities in order to extend the useful life of the buildings; Repairing, replacing and upgrading HVAC systems at Steamboat Springs Middle School in order to ensure equitable environment conducive to learning; Renovating and improving Gardner Field complex including turf and track improvements as well as stadium improvements in order to address student and spectator safety; And shall the mill levy be increased in any year, without limitation of rate but only in an amount sufficient to pay the principal of, premium, if any, and interest on such debt or any refunding debt (or to create a reserve for such payment); such debt to be evidenced by the issuance of general obligation bonds, installment sales agreements, lease purchase agreements or other multiple-fiscal year financial obligations, or to provide district matching money for any grant awarded by the state under the Building Excellent Schools Today program; such debt to be sold in one series or more, for a price above or below the principal amount of such series, on terms and conditions, and with such maturities as permitted by law and as the district may determine, including provisions for redemption of the debt prior to maturity with or without payment of the premium of not to exceed three percent; and shall such tax revenues and the earnings from the investment of such debt proceeds and tax revenues be collected, retained and spent as a voter approved revenue change under Article x, Section 20 of the Colorado Constitution or any other law?  

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.

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.

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205, email tross@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ThomasSRoss1.

Election 2017 — Routt County ballot issues 

Steamboat schools seek approval for $12.9M bond, $1 million mill levy

Hayden Schools looks to build modern campus with passage of 3A 

Soroco withdraws mill levy request for salaries due to math error

Ref. 2B Steamboat residents to decide fate of city council health insurance plans

5A promises to bring new era of affordable housing to Steamboat area 

Tax dollars from 2A would fund infrastructure improvements in Hayden

For complete Steamboat Pilot & Today coverage of the 2017 election, visit steamboattoday.com/news/election


Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Steamboat and Routt County make the Steamboat Pilot & Today’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.