Friday, 22 March 2019 18:07

RSU 63 leaders consider $5.1 million infrastructure loan Featured

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HOLDEN - School leaders for RSU 63 say there are infrastructure needs at the three schools that can no longer be ignored.

The school board will vote Monday on borrowing $5.1 million, with residents in Holden, Eddington and Clifton picking up the bill.


The schools are having roof, heating and other problems, according to Superintendent Susan Smith.


“We have areas that still don't have heat here at Holbrook School because of those control issues and mechanical issues,” Smith said Friday.


School leaders have spent years discussing how to improve infrastructure, which has been slowly falling apart, she said. Last spring they began talking with Indiana-based Energy Systems Group.


“So we now have a big book of problems and a book of possible solutions and our board has taken a look at what some of the priorities would be trying to keep the cost at something that we think the towns could absorb,” Smith said.


The list of priorities cost, “about 5 million dollars that we would spread out over a 15 year lease,” the superintendent said.


“That's about $437,000 more in the school budget,” Holden Town Manager Ben Breadmore said.


“The effect for the town of Holden is 0.94 mils,” Breadmore said. “So we could be looking at approximately a full mil increase. Taking us from $16.65 to possibly up to $17.65” per $1,000 in assessed property value.


The town leaders of both Clifton and Holden say they have not been provided with a breakdown of costs.


“I haven't see the final figures yet, so I'm not really quite sure what they're looking to borrow,” Eddington Town Manager Russell Smith said. “I'm not sure if word has gotten out to the communities yet.”


A public meeting was recently held about the proposal where only two residents attended.


“That does concern me,” Smith said.


“I guess I've been under the impression that the townspeople have to vote on it to borrow money anyway, but I guess there is a loophole,” the Eddington manager said.


Monday's school board meeting begins at 5 p.m. but the board isn't expected to take up the issue until after 6:30 p.m., according to the agenda.


If approved, the work would begin in April and would result in immediate energy savings. The first lease payment would not be due in January 2020.


Town leaders are encouraging residents to attend the school board meeting.

Nit-Noi Ricker

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Nit-Noi Ricker is an Army brat who grew up on a farm in Winterport. She went to the University of Maine and the University of Northern Texas to learn how to be a journalist and started her career in Arizona at the Williams-Grand Canyon News, ...