RCS places major capital improvement plan on Tuesday's ballot
By Trish Adams
Next Tuesday, May 20, the Roxbury Central School community will vote not only a 0.9 percent increase in the 2014-15 proposed tax levy, but also on critical capital improvements that have been deferred for some years until the debt service on the 1997 addition was paid in full.
If you missed the budget presentations, it is important to understand that the $5 million bricks-and-mortar projects that will be bonded over 15 years ($4 million) and paid from unused reserves ($1 million) has absolutely no connection to a gift — the Numman Technology Center — bestowed on the school and the community by RCS alumni Guy Numann and other funding sources.
Technology and more
The Numann Technology Center is a project taxpayers can enjoy without paying a dime. It will be a technology center for both students and the public and it’s the brain child of 1949 RCS alum Guy Numann, who bequeathed significant sums to RCS with a goal of making future generations of Roxbury students competitive on the global technology front.
The Numanns, and the school, have spent the past few years garnering the final donations to build the Numann Center. State Senator James Seward helped by securing a $100,000 gift for the project. RCS now has a local build-out team in place, including Nichols Construction from West Shokan/ Andes, Hinkley Electric, and Knoth Plumbing.
Funding includes $250,000 that Numann donated and the additional $100,000 Seward contributed from discretionary legislative funds. The Numanns also contributed an additional $75,000 to help the project meet prevailing wage standards.
In the late 1990s, RCS built a major addition, which was bonded for a period of 15 years. That debt burden will be history soon, which means that considerable chunk of the tax levy will also disappear from Roxbury school tax bills.
“With the continual flow of NYS State Building Aid from other projects and the ever increasing cost of construction, in combination with the continued dilapidation of our physical plant, particularly the old building, this is the opportune time to initiate a capital project to preserve our physical assets and maintain the health and safety of the instructional and work environment,” said RCS Superintendent Tom O’Brien, adding, “The longer we wait the greater the expense and the greater the need with decreasing flow of building aid to marginalize the expense.”
Updates have fallen behind
While the school and the public were paying for the addition, few significant repairs were made to the original structure, an aging Depression-era building that needs basic fundamental maintenance to maintain safe operations. This is the capital project that taxpayers will be asked to support. It includes replacing the 75-year-old slate roof and treacherously decaying masonry in parapets and windowsills.
Some decades-old bathrooms are now barely up to code and not accessible to handicapped students. Improvements made to inefficiencies in the interior will to save thousands on security, energy and fuel efficiency going forward. The project also includes repaving cracked parking lots, providing a shelter for buses, and work on the bus garage, including a well.
NYS reimbursements available now
Because the school can leverage more than $600,000 a year in New York State building reimbursements and the 1990s addition is paid in full, taxpayers will still feel tax relief on the “capitalization” front even if the new project is approved.
Taxpayers will be voting on this project at the May 20 budget vote and election. If you want to research the finances of the proposed capital project, you will find excellent and exhaustive resources at www.roxburycs.org to understand exactly how the project’s financing will affect your taxes.
The RCS budget vote and elections are open to all registered Roxbury voters, on Tuesday May 20, from 3 to 9 p.m. Call 607 326-4151 and visit www.roxburycs.org for more information.