Community meetings slated on bond referendum

Voters in the Greene County school district are encouraged to attend community meetings next week about the proposed $35.48 million school project.

School administrators, board members, and representatives of OPN Architects will answer questions related to the district’s facility plans and the April 3 bond referendum.

Meetings are planned as follows:
• Wednesday, March 7, at 4 pm at the Rippey Community Center
• Wednesday, March 7, at 5:30 pm at the Grand Junction Community Center
• Wednesday, March 7, at 7 pm at the middle school gym in Jefferson
• Thursday, March 8, at 9 am at the Scranton Community Center

Additionally, the community is invited to tour the middle school March 6 and March 8 during parent/teacher conferences from 4 to 7:30 pm on both days. A guided tour will be conducted at 6 p.

Absentee ballots will be available March 5 at the county auditor’s office. The district has submitted a petition to the auditor to hold a satellite voting event Thursday, March 29, at the middle school during the elementary spring music program.

On April 3, polls will be open from 7 am to 8 pm at St Brigid Parish Center in Grand Junction, Clover Hall on the Greene County Fairgrounds in Jefferson and the Scranton Community Center. All residents of the Greene County Community School District who are age 18 or older can vote. Property ownership is never a requirement for voter participation.

The ballot question is to issue a general obligation bond for $21.48 million. If it is approved, the estimated tax asking would by $2.70 (per thousand dollars of taxable valuation). For a home with an assessed value of $100,000, after rollbacks and homestead credits are applied, has a taxable value of $50,771. A $2.70 increase in the debt levy would result in an increase of $137.08 per year.

The average assessed value of Greene County farmland is approximately $1,890. After rollback, the average taxable value is $1,029, resulting in an annual increase of approximately $2.78 per acre.

The referendum must have at least a 60 percent majority vote for approval.

Other funding for the project will come from a $4.5 million pledge from Grow Greene County for the gymnasium and performing arts center; a commitment from the county supervisors for $5 million in tax increment financing revenues (with the MidAmerican Energy wind turbines creating the increment) for the construction of the regional academy; and $4.5 million borrowed against the existing physical plant and equipment levy (PPEL) and 1-cent sales tax (Secure an Advanced Vision for Education, or SAVE). The PPEL and SAVE taxes have been previously approved by voters.

Community members are continuing to pursue additional sources of private funding to help with the project.  All private donations will be used as the donor wishes.

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