Monday, August 03, 2015
Carthage taxpayer criticizes R-9 stadium proposal
To the Patrons of the Carthage R-9 School District:
On Tuesday, August 4, you are being asked to approve an increase in the operating tax levy by 40 cents to finance the construction of a new football stadium/multi-purpose facility. If approved, this will take the operating tax levy ceiling from $2.75 to $3.15 per $100 of assessed valuation. This increase is “scheduled” to last for only 10 years. However, we have been down this road before in regards to operating tax levy increases that were supposed to sunset.
First of all, I want you to know that I am not against the school district building a new stadium. The current facility has been inadequate in many respects for years. The committee has laid out a very good case for constructing a new facility and I commend them for their research and service. However, what I am against is so quickly going back to the taxpayers for yet another capital project.
We have been told that this project will cost $10 million dollars fully completed and equipped. We have been told that district financial advisers have indicated that this amount can be raised by the 40 cent levy increase. We have been told that there could possibly be private or corporate donations and/or naming rights secured that could decrease the cost to the taxpayer by shortening the life of the tax increase.
What I challenge the school board to do is to go back, sharpen their collective pencil and work with the architects to get this facility down to a more realistic price tag for a high school stadium. Secondly, instead of convincing the taxpayers to raise taxes to pay for this project, get the corporate sponsors lined up. I think many would be willing to help fund a project like this that will be so visible along River Street. Thirdly, challenge the Booster Club to put a program together to help raise private donations. I believe that many people across this community would donate to a project like this especially if they are not being compelled to give through their property taxes.
In conclusion, you the tax paying patrons of the Carthage R-9 school district need to consider something. In 2004, the voters approved an increase in the operating levy to “save” junior high sports. This tax, too, was supposed to sunset. In 2008, voters were asked to extend the life of the tax to build a new high school. In 2013, this tax that should have been off the books was extended yet again in the so-called “no tax levy increase” bond issue to build the intermediate center. The tax levy that was approved in 2004 which was to sunset in 7 years is now part of the debt service levy and is not scheduled to go away until 2034.
I ask you Mr. and Mrs. Voter, do you really think this 40 cent tax levy will fall off the books in 10 years or sooner as we are being told. What district building project will arise in the next five to 10 years? Yes, an extension would have to be voted on, but, as we have seen, it is a lot easier to get people to approve an extension of a tax they are already paying than add a new tax. Have you ever seen a tax go away once enacted?
Please carefully consider whether you believe this is the best way to accomplish this project for the district. It may be the easiest and the quickest way, but is it truly the best.
District Property Owner and parent