BY JOE COATES
Leaky roofs, deteriorating restrooms, windows in need of replacement and climate control issues in classrooms have prompted the Hazlehurst City School District to borrow up to $3 million for repairs.
The funds would come from a maximum 3 mill increase of school taxes, according to Suzanne Smith, the district’s financial advisor. Based on assessed property values in the district, stakeholders could see an adjustment of approximately $10 per year, Smith explained.
A strong possibility that the district can secure the debt interest-free exists, if the chips fall in place. The school would borrow the money from a bank. The bank, in turn for charging no interest on the debt, would receive a tax credit from the federal government for up to a twenty year period. The 3 mills would be used to pay off the debt over time, saving the interest charges and putting more of the funds to work for building improvements over 20 years.
The architect for the improvements is Carl Nobles of Hazlehurst. Part of the project will include asbestos removal in some areas, and Nobles will be working with engineers to ensure quality work and that the district is getting the most bang for its buck.
The district, as required by state code, has purchased an advertisement that will be placed two times in the Courier beginning in this edition. The advertisement contains the official language of the request in great detail.
In other financial news from the district, Smith said that the district debt is all but non-existent. A huge deficit in the general fund at the beginning of June 2008 will probably be knocked out by June 30, and the food fund deficit has almost been reduced by almost half.
“We have been aggressively working on both since we came in here last year,” Smith said. She pointed out that deficit is not debt.
One of her goals for the district is to build a $1.5 million fund balance in the general fund over a period of years. The fund would help cushion a hit from state revenue streams, as in recent years. “By next year, we could possibly be up to around the $200,000 mark,” Smith added.
Anyone wanting more information can contact Reeves or Smith at the district office at 601-894-1152