Comstock Park Seeks Renewal of Sinking Fund for Maintenance Needsby Erin Albanese
Comstock Park Public Schools' 10-year sinking fund millage is up for renewal May 6. The tax has generated about $360,000 annually for facility repairs and maintenance.
The district first passed the sinking fund millage in 2004. Since then, money generated from the 0.9984 levy has paid for roof repairs, parking lot repaving, door replacement, gym floor refinishing, lockers, carpets, athletic field improvements, track and tennis court resurfacing, land acquisition and other projects. The current levy expires June 30.
If renewed through 2014, the cost to homeowners will stay the same: $49.92 a year for the owner of a $100,000 home.
"We are not asking for anything new or an additional amount, we just want to renew it," said Superintendent Ethan Ebenstein.
While the district's big ticket facility items -- like the new Comstock Park Performing Arts and Athletic Center -- were paid for through the $29.4 million passed by voters in February 2011, the sinking fund pays for ongoing needs.
"If we don't have the sinking fund, those (ongoing maintenance needs) come from the general fund, taking dollars from the classroom," said Jamie Carnes, the district's director of finance.
Unlike bond issues, which yield large sums districts must pay back with interest, sinking funds pay for projects as they go, yielding only as much as raised by yearly tax revenue. They cannot be used for salaries and other operational expenses.
Covering Everyday Maintenance
"We have several new and updated facilities because of the bond issue, but they all will require annual maintenance to keep them looking that way," Ebenstein said. "Annual repairs are ongoing costs and even the newest facilities require these things."
Future use of the fund would include annual maintenance projects such as roof repair, parking lot repaving, and replacement of windows and doors. Classroom carpet and student locker replacement at Comstock Park High School and Mill Creek Middle School will be needed in the next 10 years, according to Ebenstein.
The remaining money from the 2011 bond will go toward completing renovations at the athletic stadium, but may not cover everything in its master plan.
The sinking fund will possibly cover remaining projects there --a team room and stadium lights. The sinking fund also could pay for buying land next to the high school to expand the parking lot.
CONNECTJanuary 31st 2014