School district $7 million capital project approved by voters

— Cazenovia school district residents voted last week to approve a public referendum that allows the district to move forward with its proposed $7.4 million capital improvements project.

Proposition 1 on the Jan. 6 ballot — the only item on the ballot — passed on a vote of 167 to 46. The 213 total votes were characterized by district officials as “extremely low,” but probably partially due to the inclement winter weather that day. Part of the low turnout also was most likely due to the lack of any controversial items in the capital project proposal, said Assistant Superintendent Bill Furlong.

“I was a little concerned by the lack of voter turnout, but pleased by the almost 3-to-1 approval,” said BOE President Pat Vogl. “That tells me that people like the choices the board is putting before the public.”

The $7.4 million project will include numerous items at both the Burton Street Elementary School and the Emory Avenue high school/middle school buildings such as roof and window replacement, repairs to existing electrical, fire/security and heating systems and the installation of new carpeting, clocks, exterior doors and pavement.

The district anticipates 69 percent of the project cost will be paid for by New York state building aid, while the balance will be funded by a municipal bond issue to be repaid over 15 years, beginning in 2016-17. Because an existing bond issue will be paid off in 2015-16, administrators expect the renovation project to create no tax levy increase for residents, Furlong said.

With the referendum approved, district administrators are now working to create and sign a contract with the consulting architectural firm, Tetra Tech, which will then spend about six months writing specific project plans and specifications. Those plans will be submitted to the state education department for approval, which is expected to take about six months.

The district expects construction bidding to occur in early 2015 and have the actual construction occur during the summers of 2015 and 2016, Furlong said.

The full list of capital projects and their respective costs, as well as other information about the project, can be viewed on the school district website at caz.cnyric.org and clicking on the “proposed building project” tab.

Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican. He can be reached at editor@cazenoviarepublican.com.

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