Mary Jo Lewis, coordinator of business services for the district, said she will recommend the board ask the county to reduce the tax levy from 4.95 mills to 4.27 mills for the next fiscal year. At that level, she said, the tax will raise enough …
Park County School District No. 1 taxpayers will get a small break this year and a bigger one next year as the district plans to retire bonds purchased in 2005 two years early.The bond issue, approved by district voters in November 2004, funded enhancements to the new Powell High School building. The 4.95-mill levy went into effect in July 2005.
Mary Jo Lewis, coordinator of business services for the district, said she will recommend the board ask the county to reduce the tax levy from 4.95 mills to 4.27 mills for the next fiscal year. At that level, she said, the tax will raise enough money by June 2010 to call the bonds, and the tax can be eliminated completely.
Lewis said that when the district received this year's report from the county treasurer, which includes money in excess of the bond payment due this year, it became apparent that there would be enough money to call the bond early.
Lewis consulted with Mary Keating Scott of George K. Baum & Company, the Cheyenne firm that handled the bond sale for the district. The company's analysis determined that only 4.27 mills would be required to call the bonds in December, 2010.
Lewis said the district will confirm there are sufficient funds after the county treasurer's report is received in June 2010.
“If that is the case, no mill levy will be assessed in July 2010, and this will save the taxpayers approximately $47,600 in interest payments,” Lewis said.
The original bond proposal allowed up to nine years for the bonds to mature, but the board levied the 4.95 mills with the intention of retiring in 2012 after only seven years. Taxpayers saw only a small tax increase at the time because the assessment of the school district's tax coincided with the expiration of a 4.7 mill tax levied by the hospital district.
The early retirement of the bonds is possible because the original proposal was based on property assessments in 2004, and rising property values in the county and a period of high mineral values provided increased revenue from the mill levy.
In addition, the district's financial health earned an A+ rating for the bonds, and the bonds were sold in a favorable market, resulting in low service fees and a low interest rate.
The bonds provided funding for enhancements to the new high school beyond what the Wyoming School Facilities Commission was willing to fund. Included in the enhancements were an additional vocational classroom and an expanded shop area as well as updated equipment for vocational classes. Additional seating was added to the auditorium and the gym, two extra dressing rooms were built and the wrestling/multipurpose room was expanded.