|Land Acquisition Q&A|| Vote Date: Tuesday, April 10, 2012|
WHY IS THE DISTRICT PURCHASING THIS LAND NOW WHEN THE ECONOMY IS STILL TIGHT?
While the school board recognizes the current economic constraints, the land is available now and other bidders have also expressed interest. Additionally, real estate prices have declined. The opportunity to purchase the land at the asking price may not become available again.
WHY DOES THE DISTRICT NEED PROPERTY WITH A RESIDENTIAL HOME AND POOL?
The district plans to subdivide the property after it is purchased and sell the portion with the home, garage, barn, pool and pool house. This will reduce the net cost to the taxpayers while still providing the district with acreage adjacent to Lenape Elementary School.
WHAT ARE THE PLANS FOR THE PROPERTY?
Possible plans include expanding the single entrance/exit into Lenape, enhancing emergency access as well as every day access. Part of the acreage can be used for additional athletic fields as well as parking for the fields and for Lenape. While no long-term plan is finalized for facilities expansion, the acreage could expand options since the NYS Education Department requires certain ratios of acreage to square footage.
HOW WILL THIS AFFECT PROPERTY TAXES?
Because the district is proposing to purchase the land out of the Capital Reserve Fund, there will be no impact to the tax rate for the cost of the purchase. Because the land will come off of the tax rolls once it becomes district property, the tax rolls will be reduced by approximately $18,240. However, recent growth on the tax rolls, together with resale of a portion of the property, will more than offset the reduction.
WHY ARE THERE TWO PROPOSITIONS ON THE BALLOT?
The board is proposing to purchase the property with monies from the Capital Reserve Fund. The fund is currently limited to expenditures for renovations and improvement to existing buildings only. The first proposition asks for approval to expand the use of the fund to include the purchase of property.
IF WE USE MONEY FROM THE CAPITAL RESERVE FUND, WILL WE HAVE ENOUGH LEFT TO COVER THE RENOVATIONS OUR BUILDINGS NEED?
After purchase of the property, the Capital Reserve Fund will have a remaining balance of approximately $400,000. This will be increased after subdivision and sale of the portion of the property with the home and outbuildings. The board is currently finalizing a health and safety plan in response to our Buildings Conditions Survey that will be paid for through a bond issue that would also require voter approval.
WHY ARE WE SPENDING MONEY ON LAND WHEN WE’VE HAD TO CUT PROGRAMS AND STAFF?
The purchase of the land is out of the Capital Reserve Fund which is not permitted to be used for operating expenses such as salaries and supplies. Because the land is available now and real estate prices are reduced, the school board is proposing to take advantage of the opportunity. Purchase of the property will not directly impact the general operating budget.
HOW ARE WE GOING TO FUND THE COSTS FOR MODIFYING THE ENTRANCE/EXIT TO LENAPE, ATHLETIC FIELDS, AND ADDITIONAL PARKING?
Determining and funding the costs for any improvements at this time is premature. More study and evaluation of options, together with competitive bidding and potential donations and volunteer input is necessary. Because the land is available now, other bidders are interested, and real estate prices are favorable, the district is proposing the purchase while the opportunity is available. Improvements can be planned at a workable and affordable timetable following the purchase.
For additional questions, contact Assistant Superintendent for Business, Richard Linden at 845-256-4010.