By NICOLE ANTONUCCI
FONDA -- A $19.4 capital bond proposal could appear before Fonda-Fultonville Central School District voters some time in late November or early December.
That was the time frame discussed at Monday's Board of Education meeting, where members were provided with an update on the changes made to the proposal, and what would happen if the proposal passes.
Treasurer Carey Shultz said since the board first discussed changing the failed $19.8 million proposal following the May 20 election, several changes occurred. He said board's decision to cut the proposal from $19.8 million to $19.4 million can now be done without cutting any projects from the proposal.
"We went back to the architect and asked for them to reduce some of their costs and they agreed. We were able to shave quite a bit of money to get to the $19.4 million," Shultz said. "We have not cut anything out of the project. The only thing that has changed is the fees we are paying the architect."
Shultz reminded the board there was a shift in the calculation of the district's debt limit, increasing the amount the district can borrow. Therefore, the board can propose a $19.7 million project with a completion date of 2018, and it would only need a simple majority, or 50 percent approval.
However, to be "conservative," the board agreed to consider a $19.4 million project.
Ben Maslona of Fiscal Advisors and Marketing attended the meeting to provide the board with information on how the proposal would financially impact the district.
He said if the bond is approved by the voters, the next step would be a 6-month period to complete the design, which would then be submitted to the state. If approved, it would then go out to bid. Construction would start by 2016, he said.
Maslona said before the district begins to take out bond notes, it would first use the $750,000 in capital reserve, the fund used specifically for capital projects. By the time the board was ready to borrow, the district's state aid would be coming in.
"You would delay borrowing as much as possible," he said.
Maslona said the district will borrow according to the time frame for the project. For example, if in the first year, the district needs $6 million, then that is what would be bonded.
Board member Bonnie Couture raised a concerns about how the residents were going to view the changes to the project.
"We have a few residents who are going to be suspicious of what we are doing as a board, because in a few months time, we have went from a super-majority to a majority vote," she said. "In a few words, what can we tell these people? I want to make sure they don't think we are pulling a fast one."
Board member Dennis Egelston agreed, adding that people are not going understand the change to the debt limit.
Maslona said part of the calculation of the debt limit has to do with how much debt the district already has. With some of that debt coming off in the next few years, it allows the district to borrow more.
The easiest way to think about it, he said, is that the district is paying its debt off.
Board member Mary Frollo said the board still has to figure out what it is going to be presented.
Shultz said the board still has to decide whether there will be two propositions on the ballot, as originally discussed. One proposition would be the main project and the other would just be for the athletic field.
The board also has to finalize a date, he said. While the board was originally looking at September, there must be a 45-day public notice period, so Shultz said the date could be pushed to late November/ early December.
Couture said one idea was to have the vote in November, during the parent-teacher conferences.
Superintendent Raymond Colucciello said while general elections happen on a Tuesday, they could have it on any day of the week.
A specific date will be forthcoming.