shortcutNov 20, 2018
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On-campus bus facility would come at no tax increase to the community

Voters to decide on two NO-COST propositions on May 15: bus facility and capital reserve

The Schalmont Board of Education voted to proceed with a proposition on constructing a transportation facility on the middle/high school campus at its March 26 meeting.

Though a large portion of the project will use funds already approved by voters in the 2016 capital project vote, the change in plans will require voter approval on May 15.

Though the original plan was to repair the roof of the existing transportation facility, the district has found that an on-campus transportation facility would be safer and more cost-efficient. The facility would have a solar roof, allowing for green, sustainable energy at an increased savings to taxpayers.

“Since the 2016 referendum, new, more financially responsible opportunities have presented themselves,� said Superintendent Dr. Carol A. Pallas. “With these opportunities, coupled with the continuing deterioration of the existing facility, it would be careless for the district not to update its plans if it means using the taxpayers’ resources as efficiently and responsibly as possible.�

The current bus storage facility requires approximately $4.4 million in immediate roof repairs, and an additional $4.4 million to address other health and safety needs, including asbestos abatement. Consolidating the storage and maintenance facilities adds another $5.5 million, bringing the cost of updating the existing transportation facility to an estimated $14.3 million.

On the other hand, a new facility right on campus would cost $9,390,000 – and includes a solar roof, bus wash, and an additional access road to the campus.

“An on-campus transportation facility would be safer and more cost-efficient than the current, off-site facility,� said Transportation Director Joe Hilts. “Right now, our drivers deal with a lot of tractor-trailer traffic from the Industrial Park. This complicates bus deployment and increases transportation costs.�

On May 15, the community will vote on two referenda that will have NO COST to taxpayers. First, voter approval is needed to change the project from repairing the old facility to constructing a new one. The district is able to do this by using the $3.4 million already approved by voters in 2016 and dedicating $840,000 to the project at its outset. The remaining cost will be funded through state aid.

The second referendum would be to establish a capital reserve fund to defray the cost of the project in future years. This will help when we have another building condition survey completed on our facilities in 2020.

“In short, the community will get a safer, greener transportation facility with no additional tax increase,� said Pallas.