Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Lois E Johnson
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

More fields needed to meet summer program needs


The Moose Lake School Board met with members of the organization that operates the summer baseball and softball programs to discuss the need for fields, at the monthly meeting of the board on Monday, July 16.

Gary Anderson and Shawn Bode told the board that the little league field that they have been using behind the old school is not ideal. There are two fields in Willow River, Twilight Field and the little league field that have been used for the eight teams that play during the summer.

“There are 180 to 200 kids in the program at ages from 12 and under,” said Anderson. “T-ball is run by a different program.”

“We would need one or two little league fields and one versatile field,” said Bode.

The versatile field could have bases that are adjusted for softball, little league or baseball, it was explained.

After Anderson and Bode left the meeting, the discussion turned to parking lots.

Superintendent Robert Indihar explained a parking lot could be built south of the main entrance to the existing parking lot.

Another parking lot would be built by the bus garage.

The cost estimates for the two new parking lots, if both were paved, was $250,000. Tax abatement funds could be used for two-thirds of the project, with a tax increase of $9 to fund the remainder of the project, it was said.

No decision was made.

Tax impact numbers were received from the school’s financial firm, Ehlers, and showed that the original tax impact figures were actually less than had been presented before the $34.7 million bond referendum was passed.

Instead of the $191 estimated annual tax increase, the actual tax increase on a $100,000 property was $164.

“The taxpayers are saving $27 a year,” said board chair Steve Blondo. “For another $9, they can get $250,000 for the parking lots.”

“From our side, that is what was cut from the project,” said Indihar. “That is still less than what we had talked to the public about.”

He added that repayment of the abatement bonds would be spread over five years, and the repayment on the other bonds would be spread over 20 years.

There was discussion about a bond referendum that the school district would bring to the voters in the amount of $2.5 to $3 million for funds to complete the athletic field complex.

The discussion will be continued at a special meeting on Tuesday, July 17. Business Manager Kara Burn pointed out that, if the question about a bond referendum were to be placed on the ballot for the General Election in November, there would have to be a meeting with the public within a month.

The board also discussed improvements to the playground such as: more asphalt to create another basketball court, drainage tile, seeding and sodding and any other improvements that are necessary. A motion was passed to give Indihar the permission to make the improvements.

There has been a list of projects that still needed to be done from when the building was completed, Indihar said. The projects have been ongoing throughout this first year of occupancy.

The projects that need to be competed are replacing the sidewalk in front of the building where there are cracks, a circular stairway to the top of the booth in the back of the auditorium, and camera issues.

“I feel like we are getting caught up,” he added. “ARI (the architectural firm) and Boldt (the construction manager) are pushing those projects also.”

The board approved a 10-year facilities maintenance plan. Funds will be furnished by the state to fund the maintenance.

“Those funds can be used to replace something that is worn out,” Indihar explained. “But you can’t replace something that you don’t have.”

He also explained there are portions of the plan that include required testing, such as for lead, that are ongoing costs.

Burn said the funding the costs will be added to the school’s levy in 2019 and 2020.

Indihar announced that the sale of the old school was expected to be completed on July 20. The sale of the Southern Carlton County Family Center on Elm Avenue was expected to be completed by the end of the month.

Indihar also reported that the proposed cell tower will probably not happen. It was to have been located in the trees near the entrance to the elementary parking lot by the old school.

He added that the city is interested in buying that portion of the property.

In other business, the board raised the prices for meals at five cents for the elementary and 10 cents for high school and adults. Indihar said due to changes in the menu, the lunch program showed an increase of 2,000 meals last year and a profit in income.

The next monthly meeting of the board was set for Monday, August 20, at 6 p.m.


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