Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What construction projects will the bond issue fund?
A: Addition and renovations of the Middle School to improve security, safety of students and staff, improve handicap accessibility, climate control the environment, improve classroom design and space. The addition and renovations will vastly improve the learning climate and educational experience for students.
Q: From what sources can a school build new or renovate existing infrastructure?
- CASH DONATIONS or GRANTS
- Votes General Obligation Bonds (G.O. Bonds)
- PPEL Notes
- Sales Tax Bonds
Q: How much is the bond referendum?
A: The bond referendum is $14,000,000. The estimated total design and construction costs of the project is $16,059,102.
Q: Where does the rest of the money come from?
A: Sales tax & PPEL dollars are being committed to cover the difference between the $14,000,000 General Obligations Bond and the estimated $16,059,102 cost.
Q: Why can’t the existing PPEL and Sales Tax Funds pay for this entire project?
A: Sales tax dollars have already been committed to paying for the Briggs Geothermal project and the High School Addition. The scope of this proposed project is large enough that it requires the use of General Obligation Bonds in addition to those other funding sources.
Q: If the referendum passes, how much will property taxes increase?
A: Based on our current tax valuations, a $14,000,000 bond would increase a debt service levy by approximately $2.46 per $1,000 of assessed valuation multiplied by any rollback percentage and less qualifying homestead credit. Please note this is just an estimate, it is not locked in until bonds are issued. Please see Summary Tax Impact link.
Q: How do I determine my assessed value?
A: Remember, assessed value IS NOT market value. Assessed value is determined by the County Assessor. Please see your most recent property tax statement.
Q: What is property tax rollback?
A: The Code of Iowa provides for the reduction of property tax valuations according to assessment limitations to cushion the impact of inflation. The Iowa Department of Revenue computes and determines the rollback percentage for each category of property each year.
Q: So how much will this cost me?
A: Please see the Summary Tax Impact worksheet link as this breaks down the cost based on the category of property. On this worksheet please find your category of property such as residential, commercial, ag land or multi-residential and then your approximate assessed value to determine an estimate rate change per year.
Q: What happens if the construction bids for the project come back higher that $16 million?
A: The Maquoketa Board of Education has several options available if bids come back higher than expected. One option is to direct the architects and engineers to review and critically analyze the construction plans to try and discover ways to make more economical options without sacrificing quality. A second option is to locate other funding sources such as grants and donations.
Q: Does the referendum include a budget for furnishings?
A: Yes, a furnishings and equipment allowance is a line item within the project budget.
Q: Who can vote on the referendum?
A: Anyone who lives in the Maquoketa Community School District, is eighteen years of age, and is registered to vote can cast a ballot on April 5th. A person that is not registered to vote can register at their polling location the same day by providing proof of age and residence.
Q: Where are the polling locations and when can a person vote?
A: On April 5th, voters can cast their vote at the Jackson County Courthouse North Lobby, 201 West Platt Street, Maquoketa, Iowa from 7 a.m. until 8 pm. You can go to the auditor’s office beginning March 2nd to request and vote using an absentee ballot in person.
Q: Voting by mail?
A: If you are unable to vote on April 5th, you can vote early by using an absentee ballot. You can request a ballot via mail by completing an absentee ballot request form available at the auditor’s office or on the Maquoketa CSD website. If you vote by mail the worry-free postmark date is Monday, March 21st, 2016. Absentee ballots post marked on Monday, April 4th, 2016 or earlier and received by noon on Monday, April 11th, 2016 are considered on time to be counted.
Q: What is needed for the referendum to pass?
A: General Obligation Bond referendums need 60% of the votes cast to be “yes” in order to pass. In recent years, multiple school bond referendums in Iowa have been decided by less than three votes. This demonstrates that everyone’s opinion and vote is important!
Q: Can a school use bond money to give teachers or staff a raise or pay employment related expenses?
A: Absolutely NOT. These are two separate pots of money. Teacher salaries are paid from the General Fund. The Debt Service Fund, PPEL and Sales Tax monies are ONLY to be used for infrastructure improvement.
Q: Because a Piper Jaffray representative is here at our community meeting, does that mean Piper Jaffray is recommending that our district should borrow money for the project as presented?
A: No. Neither Piper Jaffray nor its employees have an opinion about the project. Piper Jaffray is only participating to help provide factual information related to bonding and the tax implication of the project.
Q: Why are we renovating instead of building new?
A: Structural engineers and architects studied the current building and proclaimed it to be in great shape and could last another 50 years. Based on these results and a price tag of $22+ million for a new building it was determined a remodel and renovation would be the most financially reasonable route to take.
Q: What type of HVAC system is being proposed for this project?
A: The HVAC system for the project is yet to be determined. The architects will evaluate a minimum of three different systems. They will also develop a life cycle cost analysis with the engineers so we can compare initial and operating costs. Typically, the architects budget for the geothermal initially because it almost always has the highest initial cost. The other options will have lower initial costs so we should be covered in the budget established if another system option is chosen.
Q: What is the proposed construction timeline if the bond referendum passes?