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

By Lois E Johnson
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Special election for addt'l funds


The Moose Lake School Board decided, at a special meeting on Tuesday, July 17, to bring the concept of spending up to $3 million to complete the athletic field complex to the school district voters.

The special election would be held in February or April 2019. Public meetings have to be held and there was not enough time to put the bond out for a vote during the November 2018 election, it was said.

Bringing the vote to the school district residents was one of two options that were considered by the board.

The other was abatement bonds of $250,000. Those bonds would not need a vote by the school district residents and would be used to build and pave the parking lot to the south of the existing parking lot and build another parking lot near the bus garage.

“Abatement bonds are a loophole that school districts can use for funding the building of parking lots,” explained Superintendent Robert Indihar.

The taxpayers would pay $9 a year for the abatement bonds on a $100,000 property, it was shown on chart of the tax impact presented by Ehlers. The bonds would be paid back within five years.

The $3 million in bonds, if approved by the voters, would be wrapped around the $34.7 million bond referendum for the school and be paid back in the 20-year length of the bond issue, explained Indihar.

Board Chair Steve Blondo pointed out that it was originally thought, from figures presented by Ehlers, that it would cost the owners of a $100,000 property $191 a year for the new school. The tax impact is actually $164 per year on a $100,000 property.

He said for another $18 a year on a $100,000 property the athletic complex could be completed. There would still be a savings from what was originally presented to the public as to the tax impact.

Board Member Jamie Jungers said, “It’s the right thing to do. We have to take the reins to get what the kids need. It will not be just nice, it will be very nice. This is our opportunity right now. The interest rates are low and this could be wrapped into the school bond.”

Although the track, practice football field and baseball field are completed or near completion, funds are still needed to complete the remainder of the athletic field complex. That includes a building for concessions, restrooms with hot and cold running water and storage, a grandstand, building a fourplex of baseball, softball and little league fields, fencing, lighting, parking lots and an early childhood playground.

“We will be using three fields in the cloverleaf complex and the city will be using one,” explained Board Chair Steve Blondo.

“We could have better fields and better amenities,” added Jungers. “For $18 a year we could have running water, hot water, state-of-the-art lights and a grandstand.”

The board discussed bringing the ideas to the public at public meetings in the next few months to explain the proposal. It was suggested that an architect that designs athletic fields could be hired to present the concept to the voters.

“I’m envisioning multiple public meetings,” said Blondo. “We need to get an idea of what people think.”

The board discussed interviewing three architects before deciding on one to present the concept to the public.

Blondo said that, for a special election in February, the question for the ballot must be ready by early November. Public meetings will have been held for the voters to make comments.

“My mantra is that our kids deserve nice facilities,” said Jungers. “Now it the time to do it. I would hate to see us miss this opportunity.”


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