October 15, 2018 11:00 PM
(ABC 6 News) -- Voters in the Alden-Conger School District have a unique choice this fall: use the nearly $1 million left over after a building renovation to tackle a few new projects, or temporarily lower taxes in the district.
The surplus comes after the district spent less than budgeted on an approximately $12 million building project three years ago, Superintendent Brian Shanks said.
"We put an addition on, we built some classrooms, office space. We also replaced our boiler, put a chiller in, and it all worked out to be about a million dollars under budget," he said.
Shanks said property tax rates have been set and money collected at a higher rate, assuming the project had come in at $12 million, so now the district has to either spend it on building projects or lower the tax levy for the next four years to compensate for the lower-than-expected outcome. The funds cannot be used to fund other district needs like staffing, curriculum or furnishings, he said.
Monday night, several dozen community members gathered in the school's media center to share their thoughts on what the district should do. Among the options are updating athletic fields, building a loading dock for easier access to the kitchen or establishing a community daycare.
Some residents, however, would rather see that money returned to taxpayers. The district estimates a property owner with a $100,000 home would spend a little more than $220 less over a four-year period if the referendum fails.
Alden township resident Ebenezer Howe said he's leaning toward voting no on the referendum.
"I don't think (Supt. Shanks) has enough information to be able to tell... and he absolutely can't predict the future," Howe said.
If the referendum passes, Shanks said district leaders will invite the community to the school to collaboratively decide how best to spend the money. Since the vast majority of the district's facility needs have been met, addressing a few extras would be a cherry on top.
"Then the people in this community shouldn't have to worry about anything for this school for many years to come," he said.
The district is holding another community meeting Monday, Oct. 22 at 7 p.m. at the community building in Conger ahead of the Nov. 6 election.
Created: October 15, 2018 11:00 PM
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