JHS building payments years ahead of plansThe bond the Jamestown School District took out to pay for the construction of Jamestown High School a decade ago are years ahead of schedule, according to JPS administration.
By: Ben Rodgers, The Jamestown Sun
The bond the Jamestown School District took out to pay for the construction of Jamestown High School a decade ago are years ahead of schedule, according to JPS administration.
“In the last couple of years we’ve been able to downsize because of the interest rate,” said Sally Ost, Jamestown Public Schools business manager. “We’ve worked with our bond company to reduce the debt, so we’ve taken about four years off.”
The original timetable for the completion of payment on the bonds was June 30, 2021. That has changed to June 30, 2017.
The bond went through rewrite two years ago and the interest rate was reduced from about 4.8 percent to about 1.9 percent by combining and reselling two bonds. The move will save taxpayers approximately $1.9 million.
About $8.4 million of the approximate $24 million of the cost has been paid off so far.
The cost of the school is being paid for with a city-wide 1 percent sales tax and a 21.4 mill tax levy. Both were approved by voters in March 2002. No funds for the project came out of any of the school district’s funds.
After Jamestown voters approved the issue, a North Dakota law passed in 2007 made it illegal for school districts to use city sales taxes for repaying future bonds.
The levy produces about $878,000 annually, and the sales tax produces slightly more than $2 million, Ost said.
The bond and sales tax went into effect in the 2002-2003 school year. Jamestown High School opened for classes on Jan. 12, 2004.
One organization is hoping to possibly use a 1 percent sales tax to pay for a community activity center once the school is paid off.
City Administrator Jeff Fuchs said it’s just one of many groups that may want the funds. There has been talk in the community of using the money for a new library, tourism center or county road repairs, he said. All are possible uses for such a tax.
Both Buffalo City Tourism and the James River Valley Library System have not yet contemplated asking for sales tax funds, representatives said.
Nina Sneider, executive director of Buffalo City Tourism, said the discussion has not come up with either of the organization’s two boards.
The same was said for the library system, which has been pursuing a new building.
“That seems a little far and remote,” said Dale Marks, JRVLS chairman. “We’re still at a standstill, and we have not discussed any other funding.”
Sun reporter Ben Rodgers can be reached at 701-952-8455 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org