Fields Referendum May Have Hidden Costs, Warns Resident
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In compliance with the law, the Board of Education has provided voters with an
estimate of how much annual bond repayments will cost the homeowner if the
$7.7 million school referendum is approved.
Like most components that make up our property taxes, a homeowner’s share
of the principal and interest on the bonds will depend on the assessed value of
your home. For example, a house assessed at $350,000 would result in a $35
charge to the homeowner each year for the next 10 years. Normally, property tax
increases are limited by the state mandated 2 percent cap. In this example, approval of the referendum would allow taxes to exceed the cap by $35.
However, in addition to the bond repayments, there are also undefined annual
maintenance costs that the Board of Education has not specified. Here are a few
• In 10 years, and every 10 years thereafter, the board will have to come up
with approximately $1 million ($500,000 per field) to resurface the fields.
• There will be extra staffing and security costs associated with the increased
usage of the fields, especially at night.
• As a result of year round night time activities, lighting costs will be very
high. The cost of lighting one field is approximately $40 per hour. If the
lights are used 250 days during the year, the annual lighting bill could be in
the neighborhood of $80,000.
• There will be heating, electric, and maintenance costs associated with the
These annual expenses have to be absorbed by the regular school budget which
is capped at 2 percent. So if $200,000 is added to the regular budget because of the operating expenses listed above, then other areas of the budget, perhaps even
academic ones, will have to be reduced by that amount.
On January 22, as you read the wording of the referendum, be aware that there
is no mention of the annual costs associated with maintaining the facilities after
they are built. These costs will be significant, and unlike the bond repayments,
they do not end after 10 years.