PLATTSMOUTH – Plattsmouth Board of Education members formally authorized the issuance and sale of bonds for more than 40 school-related projects at their meeting Monday night.
Board members voted 8-0 to pass a resolution authorizing the issuance and sale of bonds in the amount of $15,055,000. The school district will issue $9.5 million of that amount this year. The remaining portion would be available to issue in 2020 if necessary.
Plattsmouth voters approved a bond issue for the school district in May. A total of 1,350 people voted yes on the motion (59.63 percent) and 914 people voted against it (40.37 percent). Voter turnout for the special election was 37.40 percent.
The district is planning to work on 47 construction and renovation projects at local buildings. The majority of these jobs will take place at Plattsmouth High School, Plattsmouth Community Middle School, Plattsmouth Elementary School and Plattsmouth Early Childhood Center.
Ameritas Investment Corporation representative Jay Spearman provided details about the general obligation bonds to board members. Spearman is vice president of public finance at the Omaha branch of Ameritas and has worked with many school districts and public organizations across Nebraska. He told the board it would be possible to have the entire bond issue cost less than $15 million.
“If bids come in at a lower amount than projected, then you don’t have to issue the whole bond,” Spearman said. “You have the $15,055,000 number to work with, but you may end up issuing significantly less than that depending on how the costs play out for all of the projects.”
Spearman recommended the board issue an amount lower than $10 million during the first year. He said this would create a much lower interest rate on the debt payments, which would in turn save money for taxpayers.
Spearman said the board’s original bond proposal showed an interest rate of 3.75 percent. The current interest rate Ameritas is working with is 2.96 percent. He said every 0.10 percent of an interest rate equates to approximately $115,000 in savings. Ameritas will lock in the interest rate for the bonds when the company issues them later this month.
“The only thing I can say for certain is that the interest rates will be different two weeks from now,” Spearman said. “It all depends on the markets when we sell the bonds. At this point though, it looks like they will be much lower than the numbers voters considered at the election.”
Spearman presented board members with a chart that showed the costs of the first round of bonds. The school will deposit $9.5 million in a project construction fund. Additional fees for services for the rating agency, underwriter and bond counsel will adjust the total bond cost to $9,630,484.80.
The district’s first interest payment on the initial bond offering will come in December 2019. The final interest payment is scheduled to take place in December 2039.
Board members discussed several bids for bond projects. Members voted 8-0 to accept a bid of $194,879 from Midwest Sound & Lighting for renovation work at the high school auditorium. The district had originally estimated the auditorium project would cost $230,000.
Midwest Sound & Lighting will remove current sound and lighting equipment from the auditorium and install new items. This will include additional lights in both the seating area and stage and many microphones and amplifiers throughout the room.
The deadline for completion of the project will be Sept. 15. Superintendent Dr. Richard Hasty told the board Midwest Sound & Lighting offered the lone bid. The district received an inquiry from another company, but Hasty said the second company was unable to guarantee having everything done by Sept. 15.
Board members authorized Hasty to sell used equipment from Plattsmouth Fitness Center over the next few weeks. Community members will have the opportunity to contact Hasty and purchase items such as weights, platforms and racks.
The district will buy new equipment for the facility as part of the bond issue. Hasty said it would be at least four weeks before the updated items would arrive in Plattsmouth.
Operations Committee member Tony Foster told the board the committee approved a bid of $166,773 from Rainbow Glass for replacing windows. Foster and fellow committee members Matt Glup and Shane Jensen held a special meeting July 1 to review window bids.
Foster also told the board some components of the new heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) units will take longer to arrive in town than initially expected. He said it would likely take more than 20 weeks for them to come. District officials had originally hoped to have the HVAC equipment installed in 17 weeks.
Operations Committee members will be reviewing bid proposals for two other projects in July. One project will involve removing and replacing the middle school gym floor. The second will include installing 3M ultra-security film on windows throughout the district.