Supervisors Examine Funding Options for High School Addition and Renovation Project | Latest titles


Funding options for a planned addition and renovation at Amherst County High School were discussed in depth at the last Amherst County Board of Supervisors meeting in 2021.

On December 21, the board met with Davenport & Company, the county’s financial consultant, and looked at four different ways to fund each of the two options, one being the first phase and the other all phases combined. Amherst County School Board is looking to build a new 1,400-seat auditorium at the back of the school next to the high school’s two gymnasiums and renovate the school cafeteria, which is seen as the first phase at an expected cost of $ 13.8 million.

The school board will spend $ 8 million for the first phase and is asking the county for $ 5.8 million. The other two phases include approximately $ 5.2 million to renovate the Vocational and Technical Education (CTE) learning zones and $ 2 million to make improvements to the Lancer Stadium and build a new field for the teams of baseball and softball, bringing the overall estimate to $ 21 million.

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Superintendent Rob Arnold said the renovation of the auditorium and cafeteria is more urgent and the other two phases could be completed in the coming years. To complete the four projects in high school, it takes over $ 11 million from the county.

Davenport found that it was possible to fund either option without a significant increase in the county’s debt service budget, according to a written report to the supervisory board. The board must decide whether to commit the entire county debt service budget to fund the four projects or keep some capacity in reserve to meet the expected growth of development in the county, according to the report. .

The school division is using more than $ 5 million in federal stimulus funds from the American Rescue Plan Act and must spend it by 2024. The division needs a decision from supervisors by February to start work on time. meet its deadlines for funding availability, says the report. .

RT Taylor, of Davenport, reviewed the details of the county’s long-term debt service outlook at the Dec. 21 meeting.

“From a debt capacity perspective, you are managing your debt very well,” Taylor told supervisors.

The county’s tax-financed debt service budget is around $ 3.8 million through fiscal 2028 and will decline by approximately $ 800,000 over the next six years, which would be freed up for the future. debt service, according to the report. Over the next three years, fiscal year 2032 and beyond, the county’s debt service decreases further by $ 2.6 million, providing a total of approximately $ 3.4 million in annual recurring resources that could potentially be programmed for new capital needs or debt service, the report says.

The county has identified the following potential measures as sources of potentially recurring annual revenue that can be used to offset additional needs related to investment projects, according to the report:

A countywide 1-cent property tax increase, which would provide about $ 245,500 per year

A 1% sales tax increase that would generate around $ 3.7 million per year, a move that requires General Assembly approval and a successful referendum

Adjusted the county meal tax by 2% (from 4% to 6%), which is expected to bring in about $ 517,000 per year, a measure that does not require a referendum.

Additionally, the Business, Professional, and Professional License Tax (BPOL), which is in effect, could provide an additional $ 100,000, and the County Cigarette Tax that began in October could generate $ 100,000 to $ 200,000. additional $.

The goal is to get the first phase into action while the students are out of school during summer vacation, officials say.

“The way you explained it brings comfort and I can take it,” supervisor Claudia Tucker told Taylor. “I feel good about it.”

Supervisors have yet to make a funding decision and are expected to discuss it further at the Jan. 4 board meeting that Arnold is expected to attend.


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