by Kurtis Workman
Press Staff Writer
The American Falls School District will be asking patrons to renew the plant facilities levy of $480,125 for the first year, with a adjusted increase each following year for another six years with the final amount totaling $612,775 in 2019. The levy provides money to the school district to cover maintenance expenses.
In an earlier Press article, Wednesday, Feb. 5, “District holds plant facility levy” the annual amount of the levy was erroneously published at $700,000 to $800,000. The actual amount the school district would receive is $480,125 the first year; $504,131 the second year; $529,338 the third year; $555,805 the fourth year; $583,595 the fifth year; and $612,775 in the sixth year to offset the cost of maintenance.
“This is the money that keeps the lights on and the heaters going, by offseting the cost of larger repairs to the buildings and grounds,” said American Falls School District Superintendent Dr. Ron Bolinger.
Bolinger said the school board wanted to remain as conservative as possible when asking for a levy renewal.
“The increased dollar amount is based on an Idaho law that provides five percent increase for inflation. The board also made the request based on a one percent increase in property valuations each year of the levy. Historically those yearly increases have been larger, but the board felt using one percent was sufficient and conservative,” said Bolinger.
Voting to renew the bond will continue the current tax rate. In a strange coincidence of timing the plant facility levy will go on the Tuesday, March 11, ballot a year earlier than originally scheduled. Had school district officials allowed the plant facility levy to come up for election it would have been on the same ballot as the school’s supplemental levy next year.
Rather than placing two levies on the ballot in the same year the American Falls School Board of Trustees opted to allow the plant facilities levy currently in place to expire one year early and request a six year renewal from school district voters.
“The board wanted to be certain the patrons understood what they were voting for each time. Instead of confusing the people with two votes in a single year the board chose to separate the elections,” Bolinger said.
The new levy will have the same rates as the current levy. For a $100,000 home with a non-exempt taxable value of $50,000 the monthly tax rate for the plant facility levy is $2.71 per month or $32.18 per year.
Bolinger said the difference between this levy and the supplemental levy is money from the plant facility levy cannot be used for salaries or daily operations.
“This money keeps the schools going by maintaining and repairing heat and cooling systems or computer equipment. Those are just some examples, but this levy is for things like that rather than personnel or daily supplies,” said Bolinger.
Voting on extending the plant facility levy will happen on Tuesday, March 11, between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. at all district polling locations.
Absentee ballots for the election are now available. The final day to mail in absentee ballots is Wednesday, March 5, and the final day to absentee vote in-person is Friday, March, 7. In-person absentee voting must be done at the Power County Clerk’s office inside the Power County Courthouse.
To determine your specific polling location or for other voting questions contact the Power County Clerk’s Office at 226-7611.