The Grand County School District has kept the tax rate unnecessarily high for six years to stockpile money, while also collecting millions of dollars yearly in additional taxes to make payments on over $24 million in existing debt. This has caused a double-whammy to taxpayers.
Now, instead of stockpiling funds, the district is hoping to use the same tax stream-for up to 21 more years to make payments on up to $27 million in new debt and is touting the fact that taxes won’t increase. But the district is omitting the fact that taxes would be lower if voters approved the new debt.
Even worse, the district plans to take on the new debt without voter approval. Because the new debt wouldn’t be voter-approved, the interest rate on the new debt would increase by an estimated one-half percent (according to the district’s bond adviser) costing taxpayers more than a million additional tax dollars when compared to voter-approved debt.
If the district had genuine concerns about risks, including a delay, increases in interest rates or building costs, or the whole cost of a General Bond election (only $10,000 to $12,000), the district would have put this decision before the voters earlier this month.
This is not about whether or not to build a new school, or even whether or not the district should borrow money. It is about whether or not district voters should have the same representation in this type of taxation decision, which is by way of their votes, that they have had since the district began over a century ago.
Fortunately, Utah law allows voters a chance to be heard by signing a petition, but it must be done by Nov. 24. You can find petitions at many businesses around town including Dave’s Corner Market or call 260-1563 to have one brought to you and/or have any questions answered.
Total repayment on $27,000,000 debt with two payments per year for 21 years at a 3 percent interest rate is $36,587,667; at a 3.5 percent interest rate it is $38,352,530. The difference is $1,764,863.
I plan to meet with district officials to make sure the public is getting accurate information. Please call 260-1563 to help; it is desperately needed as there is just over a week to be heard.