CONWAY – Two-thirds of the Conway Municipal Budget Committee are backing the $ 1.3 million bond proposed by the Conway School District to replace the 511 faulty windows at Kennett High School.
Eight of the twelve members who attended the Budget Committee’s public hearing at Kennett High on Wednesday pledged support for the bond, while eight supported the idea of paying for the windows in one fell swoop rather than a five-year loan.
A 60 percent majority of city voters is required for bonds to be handed over.
The Conway School Board has two articles on the warrant. No. 2 requests voter approval to “authorize the issuance of bonds or notes in the amount of US $ 1.3 million under the provisions of the Municipal Finance Act (RSA Chapter 33) and authorize the school board to issue such bonds or notes and negotiate to determine that. ” Obtain and use the interest rate for it plus an additional $ 32,500 for the first year interest payment on the bonds or notes. “
The article is recommended by the school board 5-1-1 (Jess Whitelaw abstained and Joe Mosca was in the minority).
No. 2A states: “Should Article 2 not authorize the issuance of $ 1.3 million in bonds, see if the district will vote to raise and use the $ 750,000 amount given to the expendable Trust Fund (new maintenance fund to be added to Kennett High School facilities) was set up in 2007 to replace the windows and related improvements at Kennett High School. When calculating the tuition fees for the following year, approximately $ 493,727 will offset this amount from the sending cities. “
Budgeteers David Jensen, Michael Fougere, Ellin Leonard, Erik Corbett, Mike Laracy and Eric Dziedzic as well as the Chosen Representative John Colbath and the School Board Representative Bill Aughton voted majority on Article 2, while Bob Drinkhall, Jim LeFebvre, Peter Donohoe and Frank Jost were in the minority.
In Article 2A, Corbett, Leonard, Aughton, and Donohoe were in the minority.
“There were two good arguments from both sides,” said committee chair LeFebvre. “As an older person, I hate being in debt, so I would prefer to stay away from a loan. The members of the Budget Committee voted for their conscience. … personally I think 2A is a better option. “
Conway wasn’t going to pay the entire bill. The sending cities (Albany, Bartlett, Eaton, Freedom, Hart’s Location, Jackson, Madison, and Tamworth) would be hooked for $ 855,000 of the $ 1.3 million.
“The sending cities are paying almost exactly two thirds of the cost of this project,” said Jim Hill, director of administrative services for SAU 9, on Wednesday evening.
The school board learned in June that the windows had become brittle and were falling apart.
When asked how long the replacement project would take, Hill said that due to the manufacturing time lag, the windows would not be completed until July and August when the item would transition to item.
“In September and October of this year there are some areas like the library, maybe parts of the cafeteria that they would do but not in the classrooms,” Hill said.
“The biggest phase would be the following summer. You would actually make the windows this year, but have the installation done in the summer of 2022.”
Bill Marvel, former member of the Budgets Committee, spoke about maintenance funds and that more than one could be used on this project.
“I’m glad to see that Kennett High School’s maintenance fund is finally running out as we put money into it every year,” he said.
“We also have a school building maintenance fund of $ 347,000 and changes that I saw last. And of course that goes for all school buildings, but this is one of them. And then we have an even balance. In recent years, the school board has been allowed to keep a percentage of its surplus. And last year, if you look at it correctly, it was about $ 242,000. If you put these three numbers together, you have $ 1.25 million. “
He added, “I assume this is for emergencies. For this we were told that the routine balance is for it. Why don’t we at least use that? If not part of the school building maintenance fund, which I believe the sending cities contributed to, right? The percentage of the cost would be the same, but the immediate tax bite would not. “
Hill said the road had some hurdles to overcome.
“The emergency piece, Bill, I think there are some hoops that you need to go through to release the money,” he said. “I think you have to go through the department for Ed if you are talking about keeping the 2.5 percent (the budget school boards can keep). I would ask if they would consider this to be an emergency or not if we had the option to pay for it (in another way). “
“I assumed it was,” Marvel replied, “but you’re using most of the Kennett Maintenance Fund on this urgency. I mean, it would be an emergency if those windows suddenly fell out in this weather. I think you could probably make an argument for that. “
Hill replied, “I was in favor of throwing away at least some of that money for those rainy days.”
Aughton voted for the Bond way.
“Achieving a 1.25 percent interest rate these days is remarkable,” he said on the phone on Wednesday. “I prefer this alternative to mining the piggy bank in the High School Maintenance Trust Fund.”
Aughton believes the district’s new five-year strategic plan would support a bond payment. Facilities on page 26 of the plan recommends that “develop budgets to support the implementation of recommendations on a schedule to spread the overall impact over time.”
“To be honest, I’m scared the bond won’t come and we really need it,” said Aughton.
While some advocate digging deep into the maintenance trust fund, there are a number of major maintenance items on the near horizon, according to Aughton, especially at the high school, including repairing the 15-year-old, mile-long road to Eagles’ Way. A skim top was being put on in the past few years and the roofs had to be replaced at high school.
“It’s a bit like buying a car,” said Aughton. “It is not advisable to send every penny in advance.”
He added, “Let’s get the loan and save the other money.”
Marvel asked, “If they both fail, what are you going to do? Are you coming back next year and in the meantime, are you using wood glue and looking for places to save money? “
“I would imagine we will be here again next year to have a similar conversation,” said Superintendent Kevin Richard.
“If a particular window or two fell out, the board would have to make decisions about whether they might take money out (from maintenance funds).”