This past April, the school board voted to place before Okanogan patrons a bond levy proposal to address needs identified by three former facility committees over a period of 3 years. The bond levy proposal did not pass. The school board then held two public workshops and one community survey to answer two questions: “Why did the bond levy fail?” and “What could be done to help pass a bond levy which would address identified needs?”
Based upon information gathered through two public workshops, a community survey, phone calls and face-to-face discussions, the following items were identified repeatedly as reasons the April bond levy failed:
1) April is a poor time to run a levy – February is better;
2) The football field should be replaced with a sod grass field and not artificial turf;
3) Total dollar amount for the levy was too high;
4) Tax rate for the levy was too high;
5) Too much money was designated for sports;
6) More money should be designated for nonsports;
7) Levy was presented as a safety/security levy but was perceived as a sports levy.
On October 26, 2016, the Okanogan school board unanimously voted to place before the voters a “Buildings, Grounds, and Fields” bond levy proposal with the following stipulations:
1) The proposed bond levy will be held on February 14, 2017;
2) The football field will be replaced with a sod grass field;
3) The total dollar amount of the proposed levy is reduced by $2,577,757 (from $6,553,585 to $3,975,828);
4) The tax rate of the proposed levy is reduced by 42 cents (from $1.35 to .93) per
$1,000 assessed valuation;
5) The dollar amount for sports is reduced by $3,221,871; and
6) The dollar amount for nonsports is increased by $648,861.
The bond levy will support the following expenditures:
1) Add 2 elementary school classrooms onto Virginia Grainger ($500,000);
2) Construct an alternative Middle/High School, stand-alone classroom ($250,000);
3) Upgrade Sports/PE Fields – lay a sod grass football field with sprinkler system, construct a 6-lane rubberized track, install new field lighting, install bleachers, resurface tennis courts and grounds, construct press box and purchase a scoreboard ($1,626,770);
4) Upgrade Buildings – remodel bathrooms at MS/HS, replace worn carpet at EL/MS/HS, replace wash-basins at VG, replace main entry doors at MS/HS, replace telephone/intercom system at VG, sound proof music room at VG, improve acoustics at VG gym and MS/HS Stage area, divert water on Dawson Gym roof and install permanent roof ladders at MS/HS ($468,000);
5) Upgrade security – purchase and install cameras, emergency buttons and lockdown devices (inside and outside doors) at VG/MS/HS ($110,500);
6) Upgrade Grounds – fencing, asphalt covering, parking lot lighting, outside fire-prevention ($45,762).
7) Ancillary Construction Costs – Project Permits, Contingency (10%), Construction inflation (7%), Design Services (6%), WA sales tax (8.2%). ($974,796)
It is the school board’s wish the changes made to this proposed levy will reflect the will of the people and meet the needs of our students.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ABOUT THIS LEVY
1) To figure your own taxes for this bond levy, take 93 cents times the assessed valuation of your property. For example, if you own a house the Okanogan County Assessor Office has assessed at 100,000, which is the average assessed house in the city limits of Okanogan, then you would take .93 times 100, which equals $93 per year or $7.75 per month, or 26 cents per day.
2) Senior citizens (61 years or older)) who make $40,000 or less may qualify for a full or partial property tax exemption from this levy. Call the Assessor Office at 422-7190 for more information.
3) Tax payers who itemize deductions on their federal income tax forms may qualify for a property tax exemption from this levy up to 35%. Call your accountant for details.
4) You may register online at myvote.wa.gov.
5) Please contact Dr. Johnson at email@example.com if you have questions.