School bond estimate tops $150 million
Board expected to bring bond before voters this fall
The Park City Board of Education discussed cost estimates for its master planning projects at its meeting Tuesday, and should the elected officials decide to fund all the work through a bond measure that would be put before voters in November, they now know how much the price tag could be: $153 million.
The estimate, provided by the brokerage firm Stifel, includes project costs for new construction and renovation at Park City High School, Ecker Hill Middle School and Parley’s Park, McPolin, Jeremy Ranch and Trailside elementary schools.
Stifel representatives Matt Dugdale and Preston Kirk, who were on hand to provide the estimate, said the district is unusual among school districts its size in that it is not carrying any debt service as part of its tax levy, and has not since 2015. A $56 million bond measure that failed at the ballot box in 2015 would have created a new debt service.
A general obligation bond for the entire amount, according to the Stifel analysis, would increase the property tax an additional $26.51 per $100,000 in assessed valuation for primary homes annually. For example, a homeowner whose home is valued at $1 million would pay $265.10 more in property taxes.
Todd Hauber, the district’s business administrator, said the board is not committing to a bond for the full amount.
“Today we’re talking about general obligation bonds and lease revenue bonds, but there are other options,” he said. “Banking or private investment, etc., those can be augmentations to what we’re discussing.”
Dugdale previously spoke to the board in August about the distinctions between general obligation and lease revenue bonds. The board gave itself the authority to issue lease revenue bonds — which do not require voters to approve the debt — in September, but then-board President Andrew Caplan denied the board would exercise that authority for the bulk of the large-scale master planning projects.
“It’s not the right thing to do,” Caplan said at the time of pursuing projects like building new schools without community support.
Stifel’s estimate included costs should the board pursue lease revenue bonding, but the estimate did not indicate any financial advantage to doing so. A slightly higher estimated interest rate would amount to a property tax increase of $28.35 per $100,000 in assessed value with that method, or $1.84 more than if a bond measure were approved to fund all the projects.
The board has indicated its intent to bring a bond measure before voters this November, but has not yet said how much of the estimated $153 million would be included, or which other financing methods might supplement the bond.
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The public is invited to learn more about, and weigh in on, the Park City School District’s $79 million bond proposal.