Fisher school board goes for higher levy, also to issue $1.1 million in working cash bonds

By CAROL THILMONY
Rantoul Press correspondent


FISHER — The Fisher school board is seeking a higher tax levy than last year. But because tax caps are in effect in Champaign County the percentage increase over last year is limited to the increase in the consumer price index, which is 3 percent.

The district hopes to bring in $3.4 million, up from $3.38 million last year.

Superintendent Barb Thompson said she has been told that a 10 percent increase in the assessed value of farmland could lead to $250,000 more in the equalized assessed value of the district over last year. She said the district’s tax rate would most likely rise to 5.20 per $100 of assessed value over last year’s rate of 5.14.

The board set a truth-in-taxation hearing on the levy at 6:15 p.m. Monday, Dec. 17, preceding the regular board meeting.

Thompson said the district is getting $152,455 less in general state aid and $66,000 less in corporate replacement taxes than last year. This year school districts are receiving 89 percent of the state aid they received in 2010. Thompson said she has heard that next year that number may be 80 percent.

Also, the board voted to issue $1.1 million in working cash fund bonds to finish paying for the junior/senior high renovation/addition project. Two years ago the board borrowed $6 million for the project.

Fisher National Bank President Mike Estes attended the public hearing on issuing the bonds and asked where the additional costs arose.

Thompson said “surprises” in unanticipated costs for asbestos removal, a more extensive kitchen remodel with additional kitchen equipment and necessary roofing repairs found during renovation all necessitate the extra funding.

Also, expense for the architect to redesign and then rebid the junior-senior high renovation/addition project and some of the extra cost of the transportation facility project added to the cost.

Thompson said last month the district has seen only one tax hike in the past eight years and residents shouldn’t see much of an increase to pay off the bonds, which will restructure the debt the district is paying off for the 2003 grade school.

The board did not discuss annexing land it owns to the village of Fisher. The village is implementing a third tax increment financing district and hopes to include the 18 acres of school district land in it.

Thompson told the board she and others continue to work with the village TIF committee to come to an agreement about how the school district will benefit from the TIF money generated.
 

Categories (2):News, Education

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