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October 10, 2013

CCS planning big construction project

Voters would need to approve referendum

Cooperstown Central School is preparing a huge construction project that will cost about $7 million.

The project, announced at the school’s Oct. 2 Board of Education meeting, would need to be approved by voters, possibly in a December referendum.

The project is based on recommendations from Bearsch Compeau Knudson Group (BCK), an architectural and engineering firm from Binghamton that specializes in assessing and constructing capital improvement projects for schools.

Two BCK managers, John Knudson and Steve Theiser, made a presentation to the board at the meeting, with a complete list of recommender projects and price estimates.

Their total list of potential projects topped out at a cost of more than $10 million. However board members on the operations, ground and audit committee had already reviewed the proposals and determined that about a third of the spending was for projects that were not essential and could be addressed at a later time.

“It is important to understand the scope of the project, and the cost to the tax payers,” Board President David Borgstrom said. “It is important to look at it from an individual basis.”

Amy Kukenberger, the district’s treasurer and buildings manager, told the board there are two plans under consideration to finance the project. Under both plans the district would take out a loan and then finance it with a bond issue, and in each plan the project would be paid for in 15 years. The main difference between the plans is when the school would issue the bond, in three or five years.

Under a three-year issue, the district would have a more severe jump in cost payments in the middle of the repayment schedule. However, the five-year issue would cost more in interest payments, and that cost would be passed on to the taxpayers.

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.

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