Rates to double so $10 million of voter-approved bonds can be sold

Taxes are expected to increase for Del Norte property owners as the school district plans to sell $10 million in bonds to improve school facilities.

Four School Board members Thursday approved a resolution that will move property tax bills closer to $55 per $100,000 of assessed property value - something voters approved when they passed a $25 million bond measure in 2008.

The School Board's resolution gives permission for district officials to ask the county tax collector to levy the tax, which will show up on property owners' December tax bills. Board member Lori Cowan was absent.

Since the district sold $5 million in bonds, which helped pay for Smith River School's new gym, taxpayers have been paying $27 per $100,000 of assessed property value, said District Superintendent Don Olson. The Board's resolution would increase that bill by $28, he said.

Olson said he would return to the Board on Sept. 26 with a resolution to sell the $10 million worth of bonds.

"If we don't do this we wouldn't be able to change the tax until next fall," he said, adding it will be five to eight years before the district sells the last $10 million worth of bonds. "The $25 million (bond levy) was spread over 20 years."

According to the district's staff report, when sold, the bonds will have interest payment dates of February and August 2014. The increased tax revenue collected in December will be used toward the February payment. The revenue collected next April will be used toward the August 2014 payment.

Jeff Caldwell, the district's assistant superintendent of business, said projects completed using the previous $5 million worth of bonds may be eligible for state modernization grant funding next year.

In other matters, Caldwell recognized the district's team of bus mechanics, including Steve Vail, Jimmy Dunn and Derrick Campbell, who received a stellar safety report from the state.

Walmart store manager Nick Gonnella and Valerie Cornett, a representative from General Mills, also presented the school district with $7,156 in combined donations from three programs.

General Mills' Box Tops for Education program resulted in a donation of $2,000 to local schools this year, Cornett said.

Walmart's Stuff the Bus program resulted in a donation of $4,156 in school supplies and cash, Gonnella said. Walmart also donated $1,000 in gift cards for teachers.

Reach Jessica Cejnar at jcejnar@triplicate.com.