On Nov. 7, we have a choice: Improve our aging school infrastructure or continue to defer until another time. We can choose to move forward now or wait, but what does it cost to wait?
Interest is a major component of the total cost of the bond, and rising rates from near all-time lows is a real concern. So what is the difference in financing a $78.5 million bond today versus a year ago, when the last bond was rejected? According to a representative from Piper Jaffrey, if the current proposed bond could have been passed last year, it would have saved taxpayers more than $4 million. Every 1 percent increase in interest rates results in an overall cost increase of $7.99 million. For perspective, a 3-percent increase in interest rates would cost more than the total expense of a new elementary school, priced at $21.4 million.
Increased construction cost is another reason to act now. Industry leaders estimate building costs increase between 3 percent to 5 percent per year. A conservative estimate of a 2-percent increase per year results in decreased purchasing power of $1.5 million by this time next year. Waiting five years compounds the loss to $7.54 million.
Do I want my property taxes to increase? No, but at some point we must update our schools. As a home and rental property owner, I feel passing this bond now will cost less than waiting. We will not defeat a school bond for infrastructure; we can merely postpone it. An elderly gentlemen recently said to me when discussing the bond, “If not now, when; if not us, then who?” The time is now, the problem is ours, and only we can fix it. I urge you to vote “yes” on Nov. 7.