Last week there was a well-attended public meeting for the Town of North Stonington to air the town’s commitment to the school modernization project that was approved in May 2016. The scope of the project relative to the resolution was well developed with a presentation by the chair of the School Modernization Committee.
The bond attorney emphatically stated that the town is in compliance with the resolution. The current status concerning the awarding of contracts with a start date of February 2018 was presented. Concerns as to the town’s capacity to take on the debt of $21 million after state reimbursement were supported by the healthy financial profile of the town.
The project from the start had anticipated a tax rate increase of 3 mills to repay the required indebtedness. The good news that has developed since then is the ability to finance the project at a lower interest rate set at 2.75 percent and the opportunity to optimize the terms of indebtedness. These favorable circumstances allow the amortization payments to be met by a 2-mill increase in tax rate. In that a 1-mill increase was already set for the adopted 2017-18 fiscal year, an additional increase of only 1 mill is anticipated to accommodate this capital project.
At the public meeting, illustrations of the added 1-mill tax impact demonstrated that the average increase was 3.5 percent over the current fiscal year. The much-needed school modernization project has been brought forth at a time when North Stonington is well prepared and with costs that have been reduced due to reimbursements and favorable financing.
The timing relative to these critical factors could not have been better. Moreover, this capital project demonstrates a commitment to moving the town forward meeting goals as defined in the town’s Plan of Conservation and Development.
Bill RickerNorth Stonington