Here you will find all information pertaining to the new courthouse.
School Capital Funding Info
- Nov 2018 (mid FY 19) there was a general obligation bond referendum on the ballot for K-12 schools including BHS/RMS/RHS.
- The vote allows commissioners to use GO Bonds for financing purposes and is not a vote on scope of work.
- School system distributed information on their expected scope for $68 million in improvements at those sites with start dates Spring 2020 and to total of 42-55 months to complete.
- School system dates for bond sale (must be after design and bids in hand) projected in 2021.
- Commissioners raise taxes 10.5 cents ($6.2 million estimated payment) in FY 20 to be able to pay for design fees and for the first bond payment based on that schedule and with projected interest rates at that time.
- Commissioners have budgeted $6.2 million in cash revenue into the fund in FY 21, FY 22 and FY 23
- $4 million for design fees requested and approved by the BOE.
- Sept 2019 BOE requests approval of first architect/CMAR contracts ($4 million) County legal counsel reviews with suggested changes and the process is held up waiting on the soils report to attach to the contracts. Soils report completed in late December, BOC approves in January.
- 2020 and 2021- Pandemic and Construction increases- project will exceed $68 million.
- 2022- BOE requests additional design fees of $1.3 million to pursue a reduced scope “Option1”
- Commissioners approve the scope under the condition that the BOE affirms that additional dollars at those schools will not be needed due to removal of some renovations from the original scope.
- Fall 2022- Commissioners propose a path forward, at county expense, that would:
- Assess existing school buildings for existing building needs (roofs, HVACs, etc) to give a baseline
- Hire a retired county manager and retired superintendent to pair with superintendent and manager to review the assessment and other relevant information to offer possible paths forward for both boards to consider together
- BOE approves for superintendent to participate in process proposed
- School attorney, county attorney, superintendent and county manager meet in Dec 2022 and Jan 2023 to begin work. County issues RFQ in March for a Maintenance Reserve Study (assessment). School attorney suggests waiting for assessment to hire the retired professionals. BOE requests that the assessment not interfere with instructional time so county agrees to wait until summer break
- July 24, 2023 Consultant performing the assessment has a kick off meeting with superintendent, manager, staff from county and schools, a commissioner and 2 board of education members.
- Confirms 6 weeks for initial draft report from that date
- Spends the week at all school sites going through buildings, on roofs, etc to conduct assessment
- August 22, 2023- county manager requests contact information for the retired superintendent so that the consultant contracts can move forward and schedule debrief on the assessments. School attorney replies it will be forthcoming.
Frequently Asked Questions
What has happened to the bond money?
There isn’t bond money- yet. Bonds are a financing method where bonds are sold in order to gain revenue to complete a capital improvement. Bonds cannot be sold until a project is designed and the project has already gone out to bid. Once the bonds are sold, only the professional fees like architect and engineer fees can be reimbursed from the funding. The bonds can be sold up to 10 years from the vote (Nov 2028)
What about the 10.5 cent tax increase for FY 20?
The initial increase was based on the first expected payment if the bonds were sold in 2021 as projected. With projected interest rates that was $6.2 million. The valuation of property and the total tax rate changes over time and there is no designation of property tax beyond what commissioners adopt each year in the county budget. They can also move funds out of capital funds depending on financial planning such as when they chose to finance. The reality is that commissioners set the tax rate each year based on the adopted budget. They have continued to include moving funds into the education capital fund- a fund on county books set up for their financial planning of multi year projects- for the last 4 years using that initial estimate amount. Commissioners are responsible for a lot of different services and capital needs and can adjust that amount based on the needs of the county, which includes the school system.
What is the status of the bond projects?
Both the school board and the county commissioners have agreed to the assessment process underway and to have the study group review and make suggestions for next steps. This information will provide a baseline of the building needs for both boards to consider. This joint effort is intended to get both boards on the same page and address critical capital needs of school buildings. Transylvania County is known for the county commitment to fund schools at a high level for our peers and that is a positive testament to elected officials and to the citizens of the county.
Has any of the $68 million been spent?
Yes- architect and CMAR fees were $4 million. This was part of the $68 million budget from the school system and those professionals were hired by them directly to perform work with funds coming from the education capital fund.
What is funded in FY24?
For FY 24 the original budget reflects Total county funding dedicated for education capital: $7,942,936 (Note- the figures below changed to increase annual capital funds)
- $780,936 as requested for FFE including listed items of ADM allotment by school for furniture and equipment, $500k in computers, cameras, Band equipment, etc.
- $192,000 in requested county appropriation for vehicles
- Projects were submitted unprioritized so for initial budget, fund two projects by project and offer for school system to reallocate those dollars by project to whatever their priorities are within that total with a requested amendment to BOC, same process as outstanding by project funds still pending from prior years. These projects require only a copy of bid, contract, quote or other documentation in order to issue funds:
- 220k for capital repairs and replacement systemwide
- $750k to replace air handlers at RHS
- $6.0 million funds into education capital reserve
Operational funding totals: $13,347,875
There is an additional $4 million in prior year appropriations for projects waiting for submittal of PO, contract or similar document to issue funds to the school system and a $1.2 million project at PFE is underway.