SHARON District considers borrowing

The school board must now decide just how much work it will undertake.
SHARON, Pa. -- Sharon City School District would have to borrow $10 million to complete a list of building renovation projects under consideration.
Borrowing that amount of money would require a 1.743-mill increase in property taxes in each of the next three years for a total of 5.23 mills to cover the debt, James Tricolli, a bond broker, told the school board Wednesday.
That's 5.23 new mills.
Mercer County changed its tax assessment ratio from 33.3 percent to 100 percent of assessed value effective this year, thereby tripling the revenue value of 1 mill of tax in all of the local taxing bodies.
That means the 5.23 mills is the equivalent of 15.6 mills under the old tax system.
One mill under the old ratio cost the average taxpayer about $5 a year.
The new ratio costs that taxpayer about $15 per mill.
Here's the situation: Sharon has already enacted 13 mills of property tax increases under the old taxing ratio to help pay for $28 million it's already borrowed to remodel and expand the West Hill and Musser elementary schools and to start a similar project at the Sharon Middle-High School.
The board has yet to decide just how big of a project it will undertake at Case Avenue but early estimates put that job at $7.6 million.
The district doesn't have enough left over from the earlier bond issues to complete the middle-high school project and will have to borrow at least $1.8 million just to finish that work.
The project list under consideration also includes $300,000 for locker room improvements at the high school and $525,000 for various improvements to the Bennett Educational Service Center, which houses central administration offices.
Tricolli said the total cost is about $10.2 million but the district can borrow just $10 million because the construction money should earn about $200,000 in interest before it is all spent.
Debt service: Sharon's debt service on the money it's already borrowed for building improvements is about $1.5 million a year through the year 2021.
Adding on the new bond issue would raise the average annual debt service to about $1.8 million per year through the year 2024.
The district will run out of construction money on the middle-high school project in July. Atty. Chris Brewer, the district's bond counsel, said the board needs to decide the scope of its remaining projects and just how much it will borrow within the next month so the new bond issue can be approved in June.
Board members made no immediate comment on the scope of the Case Avenue and Educational Service Center projects.

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