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Posted: 10/27/10

RCS bond and millage
up for vote on Nov. 2

by CHRIS GRAY
Observer Staff Writer
      Two proposals will be before Romeo Community Schools voters during the Nov. 2 election.
       Residents will determine whether they wish to approve of a $8.73 million bond to improve athletic facilities and replace technology.
       Residents will also decide whether to renew the district's operating millage of 18.47 mills for six more years.
       The athletics and technology bond originated from a group of parents approaching the school to see if it'd be feasible to change the athletic fields to turf fields.
       It was later revealed that the district qualified to receive $7.5 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds (also known as stimulus funds) from the Qualified School Construction Bond (QSCB) program that could be used for such improvements.
       With this in mind, the Board of Education voted 7-0 on Aug. 23 to put the issue before voters this November.
       Chris Giancarli, a member of the political action committee "Romeo Tech N Turf," said they are trying to inform the public about the bond and what it entails.
       "People still surprise me today, some have no idea that it's going to be on the ballot," he said. "Once they hear about it, though, they seem to be all for it."
       The QSCB funds would be used to erect and furnish structures at athletic fields as well as improving athletic field sites.
       These improvements include: Installing synthetic turf at Barnabo and Memorial fields; replacing tracks with polyurethane tracks; improving concession buildings, ticket booths, and restrooms; updating field lighting and replacing scoreboards.
       The remainder of the bond<$1.2 million<would be general obligation bonds. This money would be used to replace 1,350 computers and 250 laptops in the district along with installing new servers and modern hardware and software.
       "For Schools of Choice, and from a homeowner's perspective, this makes our value go up since the quality of the school is up," said Giancarli. "Aside teachers, it comes down to facilities and technology for where you want your students."
       No group efforts have been formed to speak against the bond, though there have been comments made against it regarding the expense in hard economic times or the use of turf for the fields.
       Executive Director of Business Affairs Dave Massoglia said the debt millage from the bond would be 0.3 mills, meaning a resident with a $200,000 home would pay $30 a year.
       "The millage we would collect<money paid by residents<goes to paying the bond back over a course of 17 years," he said.
      
       Operating millage
       The second proposal is asking residents to renew a non-homestead millage that will provide $4 million to the district for general operating purposes.
       "That is $4 million in revenue for salaries, benefits, and utilities throughout the district," said Massoglia.
       No more than 18 mills would be levied against all properties except principal residence and other exempted properties<in other words, businesses would have the mills levied on their properties.
       If voted in, the millage will resume July 1, 2011 and end June 30, 2017. If voted down, the millage will expire on June 30, 2011.
       "It'd be a severe impact if it wasn't approved, it would result in a $4 million loss in revenue," said Massoglia. "It could have severe impact on operating the district."


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