I know the future remains very uncertain but we are still at this time assured of a 52.5% reimbursement rate from RIDE (RI Department of Education) for the costs of constructing a new building for Rogers and an addition to Pell.
Our Finance Director released a report in July showing the short-term impacts on property taxes would not be onerous. Because of the structure of municipal bonds the bulk of the impact on property taxes would occur in the first five years and level off after that, using a combination of short-term notes to begin and shifting to long-term bonds as direct expenses with the construction reach their peak, anticipated in years 3 and 4. We’re looking at a favorable financial climate for borrowing so we can anticipate financing the debt at a low rate of interest. At this time we anticipate a rate of 52.5% reimbursement from the state.
The July report from the Finance Director projected a total cumulative increase on the property taxes for a $400,000 home of $156; that number graduates to $312 for an $800,000 home and $585 for a $1.5 million home. The cumulative increase on a $1.5 million business is projected to be $870. This total increase figure would not be reached until 2025; the increases would be incremental in the years 2022, 2023, and 2024, reaching the figures I’ve cited in the year 2025.
I do support the ballot question. A new school represents faith in our future, and “smart money” would counsel us to invest now.
What I say to our residents and business owners who are concerned, is that this has been a tough decision. The bottom line is that Newport needs to demonstrate that we are prepared to invest in education – this is a critical message to send to our students, and to businesses and people who might consider moving here. We just need to spend the money intelligently, and keep our eye on educational outcomes. We need to ensure that a new building supports improved outcomes with classroom design that has been tested and proven successful. We should innovate, but we should be careful about another “experimental” design like the current Rogers High School was in its day.