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

By Lois E. Johnson
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Athletic complex for Moose Lake School takes next step forward


February 14, 2019

The Moose Lake School Board passed a motion to send the plans for completing the athletic complex to the Minnesota Department of Education for Review and Comment at a special meeting of the board on Monday, Feb. 4.

Natalie Hoff, representing ICS Consultants, reviewed a list of projects to be included in the project once again. More accurate cost estimates were listed for each portion of the project.

The list was divided into two categories, the items that are needed, such as another parking lot and the Early Childhood playground, and the projects that would be for the community, such as a softball field and a fourplex of practice fields behind the school.

“The spreadsheet lists the must haves and the things that you want done to enhance the school,” she said. “The projects to enhance the school are more for the community.”

The total cost of the high priority projects totaled just under $4 million, according to figures presented by Greg Crowe of Ehlers, the financial consultants. Those would be included in Question 1 on the ballot.

The projects that were more for the community would be included on Question 2 on the ballot, if holding the referendum were approved. The amount of $2,635,000 would be subtracted from the first question and included in the second question, bringing the total for both questions to $6,642,500.

The bonds would be paid back over 18 years and added to the bonds for the new school until 2034, when the school bonds would be paid off. The bonds for the athletic fields would continue through 2036, if the projects were approved by a vote of the school district residents in an upcoming referendum. The decision whether to bring the projects for a vote will be decided at the Feb. 19 meeting of the board, it was said. A date in May for the referendum was favored.

The tax impact for Question 1 is $11 a year on a $100,000 residential property and $46 a year on a $300,000 residential property. If Question 2 were approved, the tax impact would be $21 a year on a $100,000 property and $86 a year on a $300,000 property, according to preliminary figures supplied by Ehlers.

Crowe pointed out that agricultural land, other than the buildings and one acre, would receive a 40 percent tax credit.

The school district would receive 50 percent in state assistance, said Crowe.

“There would be 70 percent off in state assistance but it would work out to be 50 percent with the interest added,” he said. “That would keep the school district tax level. You can actually get more aid if the tax base grows. This is a good story, a story that not a lot of school districts can tell.”

Crowe added that there will be a website, if going out for a referendum is approved, where people can go and check to see what the tax impact would be on their property.

“At the end of the day, it will come down to ‘How much am I paying?’ and ‘What a great deal you are getting’,” said Todd Rapp, who works with ICS to communicate information to the public about referendums. “People are going to ask why the entire school was not done the first time and what is still left to do. That will be explained. That reinforces trust.”

The next meeting of the Moose Lake School Board was set for Tuesday, Feb. 19, at 6 p.m. in the board room at the school.


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