Reedsville referendum would not increase mill rate

Feb. 4, 2021


By David Nordby

The Brillion News


REEDSVILLE – If the proposed referendum is approved by voters on April 6, Reedsville School District taxpayers would still see tax mill rates lower than they currently do. A referendum approval would give the school $11.5 million in general obligation bonds to renovate both district school buildings.


The $11.5 million in general obligation bonds would be combined with the school’s capital improvement fund, that it established in November 2015, to pay for renovations and some new construction to the elementary and junior/high school buildings.


In the five years since it was established, the district has been placing money in the fund. By the time the project would start in spring 2022, the school is projected to have $3.5 million in the fund, bringing the project’s budget of up to $15 million.


The school views the referendum as a “win-win” as they can bring necessary updates to the buildings while lowering the cost for taxpayers.


“The biggest factor that plays a part into all of this is careful planning and timing,” Reedsville Superintendent Kristoffer Brown said.


The tax mill rate has already decreased in recent years. In 2018-19, it was $12.99 per $1,000 of property value. In 2019-20, it was $11.56. This year it is $10.99. That number is projected to be at or lower than current levels next year. The district did start with a high tax mill rate, but it is now lower than it was more than 10 years ago. The school says it credits that to diligent budgeting.


“I think the mill rate dropping over $2 in two years is pretty unheard of in the state of Wisconsin over that time period,” Brown said.


The school surveyed district residents two years ago about potential building upgrades.


“We’ve been working at this for over two years, specifically on progress stuff and upgrades,” Brown said, adding that the survey results led to a lot of the school’s planning.


The obvious question of “why now” starts with record low interest rates in the country.


Beyond that, the school has portions of its buildings that have exceeded life expectancy and require expensive repairs until replaced. The school says doing construction on both buildings at once would lead to minimal interruption for students when all construction happens.


The capital fund being on pace to have $3.5 million by the time the project starts is a monetary factor.


Another reason for “why now,” is the new project would allow the school district to replace a former debt with a new debt that is cheaper.


“If the voters approve the referendum, the debt that was approved in 2009 will be coming off of the district roll before the new debt comes on,” Brown said.


That new debt would be at a lower dollar amount than the existing debt.


Learning sessions


The school has an informational webpage online at reedsville.k12. wi.us/ReedsvilleReimagined/ for further information.


The school will hold informational meetings at the elementary school on Wednesday, Feb. 17 and Thursday, March 18, both at 7 pm.


The presentations will also be available on the same website for viewing after they are completed.


Please see the complete story in the Feb. 4, 2021 print edition of The Brillion News.