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March 12, 2014

CCS to vote again after tie in referendum

By Greg Klein The Cooperstown Crier
The Daily Star

---- — After a 180-180 tie vote in December, Cooperstown Central School will try again to pass a referendum on a capital project today.

The CCS Board of Education voted unanimously to bring the referendum up for a second vote. The Dec. 11 resolution tied on a day when a winter storm may have limited voter turnout. Similar special votes in 2005 and 2007 drew 1,719 and 857 voters respectively.

In response to the tie, and a tax-rate hike in Hartwick, the board trimmed about 10 percent from the cost by eliminating several aspects, including gym lighting and ceiling tiles, and scaling back sidewalk construction. Several board members said the cut items will be brought back up in a future budget. 

The cost of the project is now $5.959 million. The money will be raised through a bond issue. The state will reimburse part of the funding through its building-aid program. Cooperstown’s reimbursement ratio is 71.8 percent and will be paid back to the school over a 15-year period, which is also the projected length of the bond. The projected amount the district will receive from the state is $360,083 per year. 

The cost to property owners is now projected to be an additional 14 cents per $1,000 of property tax assessment, down from 18 cents per $1,000 in the original proposal.

“Many of the remaining proposed renovations are items that will improve our children’s safety or projects that have already been postponed and now truly need to be addressed before out infrastructure problems grow larger,” Superintendent C.J. Hebert wrote in the district newsletter.

The project will include a redesigned parking lot at the elementary school on Walnut Street with a dedicated drop-off lane. Asbestos will also be removed from the building. The parking lots at each school will be repaved, damaged sidewalks will be replaced, and outside LED lighting will be installed.

At the secondary school on Linden Avenue, the project includes a technology wing that will convert the shop area into two classrooms and several music practice rooms. The 45-year-old gym bleachers will be replaced by modern bleachers with railings, aisles and handicapped seating.

In addition, the secondary school will be converted to propane heating. The elementary school has already been converted and school officials said that it has saved the district money.

Voting will take place from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. in room 304/305 at the secondary school. More information about the project is available at www.cooperstowncs.org.