Persons voting in the September 10, 2013 school board election will see a ballot question asking to continue a bonded levy for physical plant purposes at Southeastern Community College.
The current SCC physical plant bonded levy was approved in 1995 for a 20-year period that ends in 2014. It generates about $700,000 per year to service the debt on $4.5 million in bonds that were sold to fund projects that occurred between 1995 and 2014. Funds have only been used for the allowable purposes of building and property maintenance, renovation, new construction, infrastructure, and land and equipment purchases.
Area voters have approved bonded levies twice since 1990. The levy approved in 1990 lasted for ten years and funded the first phase of the College’s two-phase physical facilities plan. To accomplish the second phase of the plan, voters approved a second, overlapping 20-year bonded levy in 1995. The second levy will expire in 2014.
If the September 10 ballot measure is approved, the College will have the authority to sell bonds totaling no more than $15 million over a period of 20 years starting in 2014 for college physical plant projects throughout the district. As before, the bond debt will be retired with the levy revenue generated on properties located in its service district that includes Henry, Lee, Des Moines, and parts of Louisa, Van Buren, Jefferson and Washington counties.
To keep the cost within the average projected rate of 20 cents per $1,000 of property value since 1995, the college refinanced the bonds when interest rates dropped recently. If voters reapprove a bonded levy for SCC on September 10, the taxpayer cost is intended to continue at no more than 20 cents per $1,000 of value, with the College refinancing or revising projects as necessary to maintain that cost.
To calculate the current and continuing cost to area taxpayers, the Des Moines County Auditor provided the following example: Currently, residential property in this region gets a 52.8166% tax rollback, thus reducing the taxable value of a $100,000 value home to $52,817. Applying the 20-cent tax to that home after rollbacks results in an annual cost of $10.57.
SCC projects that have been funded all or in part by previous bonded levy dollars include new and replacement buildings at the Keokuk and West Burlington campuses, roof replacements at West Burlington and Fort Madison Center, renovations of the Fort Madison and Mount Pleasant Centers, complete exterior siding replacement at West Burlington Campus, and at all sites: sidewalks, parking lots, computer labs, and heating and cooling system updates. Comprehensive, institution-wide facilities plans currently being developed with input from representatives of the College’s constituents are expected to include student spaces, new health and science labs, space for fine arts programming and athletics, and other critically needed updates and renovations. Voter approval of this bonded levy would serve as the first critical step in implementing these plans. The College pledges to continue working with local vendors whenever possible.
For more information, contact Levy Coordinator Becky Rump at (319) 208-5065.