As reported in last week’s paper, the school board is taking the first steps toward seeking voter approval to borrow additional money to finance some major, but yet to be identified, capital improvements.
Using proceeds from a property tax that has been set at 22.5 mills for a number of years (recently lowered to 22.39 mills), the board is gradually retiring bonds it has issued in past years. As more of these bonds are paid off, the board will have to reduce this millage ... unless they get voters to agree to borrow more money for school projects.
The philosophy of the board and most other public bodies who levy taxes, is to maintain the status quo rather than allow bonding millages to fall. The conventional wisdom is that it’s easier to get voters to go along with continuing the current millage level than it would be to lower the millage and then come back at a later date and ask them to raise it again.
Last month bonding attorney Lonnie Bewley indicated the board’s bonding capacity in the next couple of years (if the 22.39 mills stays in place) would be at least $23 million and as much as $30 million, depending on market conditions and the trend of property assessments in the parish.
The total value of taxable property in the parish has been steadily increasing for a number of years and currently stands at $155.9 million. Projections show that figure topping $200 million by 2011 and climbing to almost $218 million over the next 20 years.
Supt. Richard Lavergne and his staff have been directed to survey principals and staff members and draw up a list of needs (a wish list) that the bond proceeds might be used to fund.
There are always more needs than money to meet them, so it will be very interesting to see what the staff comes up with.
It will be a complex procedure to set priorities for funding, to get reliable cost estimates and then to draw up the bond proposal and set an election date.
We’ll keep you posted.
THIS & THAT . . .
A Good Rain – The several days of rain we had last week were generally much needed and appreciated. While it did make fields a little messy for a while, the moisture was needed to help germinate the seed cane planted earlier this Fall.
And the cool – make that cold – weather that followed forced us to close the windows and turn up the heaters. And it will hopefully slow down the mosquitoes a bit.
And I didn’t even think about complaining after my 4-year-old granddaughter up in Chicago called Sunday to excitedly report that it was starting to snow up in her neighborhood. Highs in the Windy City over the weekend were just barely above freezing while nighttime temperatures dipped into the mid-20s.
Last week’s rains did put a bit of a damper on our stay at Lake Fausse Point State Park as we were unable to do much walking and/or bike riding and never got to start up a campfire.
We found the park a bit crowded for the middle of the week, with about 15 to 20 rigs, including one from Quebec, another from Florida, and several from Texas.