PLATTSMOUTH – Plattsmouth Board of Education members will issue $3 million in bonds to make repairs on items such as heating and cooling systems, sidewalks and fire safety equipment.
Board members unanimously voted Monday night to issue Series 2016 bonds in the form of Qualified School Construction Bonds (QCPUB). The district will also redeem two sets of bonds that had been issued in 2010.
The district will levy an annual tax of five and one-fifth cents per $100 of valuation to pay the principal of the bonds over a ten-year period. Plattsmouth Business Manager Tonda Haith and Superintendent Dr. Richard Hasty both said the school’s current overall tax levy will stay at its previous rate. The redemption of the two bonds from 2010 will allow the district to maintain the levy rate of $1.25580.
“It makes more sense to do this over a ten-year period than spend $7,000 or $8,000 per month on repairs,” Haith said. “This is something that will not raise the overall levy. That will remain the same.”
“We don’t have the cash to pay for these repairs outright because the board has been prudent and has chosen not to raise our levy over the last ten years,” Hasty said. “We would have to borrow money at a higher interest rate if we don’t use the QCPUB program.”
QCPUB bonds were originally created seven years ago as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. QCPUB bonds help state and local governments obtain low-cost financing for much-needed public school improvements and construction. Investors who buy QCPUB bonds receive federal income tax credits at prescribed tax credit rates in lieu of interest. This allows state and local governments to borrow money without incurring interest costs.
Rule 87 of the Nebraska Department of Education says that the Nebraska Legislature may issue QCPUB bonds to school districts for specific purposes. Districts must use 100 percent of the available bonds for construction, rehabilitation or repair of public school facilities or for the acquisition of land where a school will be built.
School districts are not required to have a public vote on QCPUB bonds because they are using the money for immediate “life safety” issues. Districts are required to tell the public what specific projects they will be using QCPUB bonds for. Monday night’s motion calls for the district to present an itemized estimate of the expenditures to the County Clerk of Cass County by Sept. 20.
The district will use approximately $1.01 million of the bonds to repair and upgrade heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems to improve indoor air quality. HVAC repairs will take place at both the high school and elementary/middle school.
The district will use an estimated $500,000 to resurface and repair parking lots and sidewalks. Approximately $260,000 will be earmarked for roof repairs to prevent mold from occurring. Another $150,000 will be used to replace carpet in multiple classrooms to prevent mold.
A total of $42,000 will be earmarked for a connection to the city sewer system to eliminate environmental hazards. The district will use an additional $30,000 to make fire safety improvements at the school buildings.