Residents of Byron-Bergen Central School will have an opportunity to cast a yay or nay vote tomorrow on the district’s proposed capital project for more than $17 million.
The vote is from 1 to 9 p.m. Thursday at the Junior-Senior High School cafeteria, 6917 West Bergen Rd.
School officials have said that the majority of the project will use available state building aid to pay the cost of the $17,107,802 project. The District’s capital reserve fund, which is designated to be used exclusively for capital improvement projects, will pay for $2 million of the “local share.” The remainder of the project’s cost will be offset by retiring debt service payments, resulting in a “tax neutral” financing plan, officials say. All that is to say that it won’t directly impact school taxpayers.
This project is for improvements to the Elementary School, Junior-Senior High School, the natatorium (indoor swimming pool) and the bus garage. Priority has been given to “asset protection, healthy building initiatives, energy efficiency, and programmatic enhancement,” district officials say. These improvements will further district goals to provide quality, well-maintained buildings, infrastructure and facilities, district materials state.
A Question and Answer section on the district’s website covers:
- Why the district has proposed this capital project (short answer: to ensure proper upkeep, make necessary repairs and spend the money now versus having more costly work and deterioration in the future);
- How it was developed (through a long-range plan and required five-year state-mandated building surveys to assess and complete vital upgrades to preserve the current infrastructure);
- Money that comes from state taxpayers (It is true that taxpayers have put money into the pot, and the district believes that doing this project would keep some of those dollars locally to benefit the Byron-Bergen school district);
- When this project will begin (Once the State Education Department approves the project’s initial phase, expected by fall 2022, work would begin in early 2023 with anticipated completion by fall 2024);
- What happens if the referendum is defeated (more critical safety requirements still need to be done and would be built into the annual budget, meaning that eventually, school taxpayers would bear the full cost. It’s a do-it-now or spends more later proposition).
A public information meeting was conducted on Sept. 30, but for those that missed it, project details can also be found at www.bbschools.org.