School Bond: Think about the bad options 2013.07.03

Morenci Board of Education president Scott Merillat thinks that taxpayers are going to view board members as a group of liars. They promised one thing; they’re giving something else.

The issue is the school bond approved in May. Voters strongly supported a proposal to extend the existing school bonds a few years to bring in much needed cash for capital improvements. Roof repairs, bleacher repairs, some plumbing problems, internet service—many needs arising from buildings that are decades old.

It was a great proposal. The sale of bonds would bring in $2.9 million with the millage rate unchanged. Board members know now that neither of those things are going to happen. There could be no extra money at all by simply not selling any new bonds.

There could be less money than promised with an increase in millage. Or the full amount could come in through an even larger increase in millage.

None of those choices are correct, Merillat says, because none of them deliver the package that voters approved.

The problem comes through the closure of the former Palm Plastics factory tied with a change in state law that affects the way the district can borrow money from a state loan pool.

As explained Monday night, the state’s general fund is protected while local taxpayers have to shell out more cash.

Board members are faced with a tough choice of what to do with taxpayers’ money—without any say by taxpayers. That statement is partially true. Taxpayers don’t get another vote, but they can express their opinion to the board and that’s what trustees want to hear. 

None of the choices are a good option, but maybe district residents are willing to pay a few dollars a month more to allow the important school work to be done. 

Contact a board member and let your opinion be known.