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November 14, 2013

CCS BOE: Project forum scheduled for Dec. 3

Cooperstown Crier

---- — Cooperstown Central School will hold an information forum at 7 p.m. on Dec. 3 in the middle/high school cafeteria about the planned Maintenance Project.

The vote on the project, which includes about $6.5 million in improvements and projects for the districts’ two schools and its garage, will be held from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Dec. 11 in Room 304-305 of the middle/high school.

Superintendent C.J. Hebert told the CCS Board of Education on Nov. 6 that he and other school officials will present information at the forum about the project and its cost. In addition, representatives from Bearsch Compeau Knudson Architects & Engineers, the firm which planned the project, will be on hand to answer questions.

Hebert also said that Maintenance Supervisor Wick Bennett will be on hand to give interested parties a tour of the facilities that need and are scheduled for upgrades.

The project would be financed under a loan/bond agreement where the district took out a loan for a short time span, either three or five years, and then bonded it. The total project would be paid off in 15 years. The construction would likely begin in 2015.

Based on a $6.5 million loan, the total project would cost property owners 19 cents per $1000 of assessed property values under the three-year issue and 20 cents per $1000 under the five-year issue. That would mean an increase of $19 or $20 in taxes on property valued at $100,000.

In addition, the Board heard a presentation from Vicki Affinito of the State Department of Taxation and Finance about the STAR Registration Program.

Affinito said that Otsego County has 56 percent registration for completion of the new property tax reduction benefit.

“We’re a little over halfway there, but we still have a ways to go,” she said. “We’re really trying to get the word out to everyone that is eligible to registered, because if someone is eligible to receive the benefits, we want them to receive it. We’re talking about hundreds of dollars in savings for a homeowner.”

The Basic STAR exemption, which is different than the Enhanced STAR exemption enjoyed by senior citizens, is available to all property owners with a household income under $500,000.

The tax reduction is only available on one property per applicant. The state mandated re-registration this year because officials were concerned that some property owners were taking multiple exemptions, including on vacation homes and homes out of state.

Hebert also told the board that the district is continuing to explore other options for the CROP program for after-school care. The school sent out a survey to parents to gage-interest in an after-school program at the elementary school to replace CROP, which lost its grant. The survey, which included questions about cost and number of days of care, had a turn-in date of Nov. 8.

Hebert said he believed that after considering the feedback, he hoped the school would be able to implement a program in time for this school year. In addition, he said that he has had talks with the Oneonta YMCA and Brookwood about a program at the school. In the meantime, the district continues to provide after-school bus service to Brookwood and the Clark Sports Center. He also said that the Clark has hired a part-time employee to help with homework for students who go there after school.

The next regularly scheduled Board meeting is on Nov. 20.