The “it” would be adding a high school wing to the newly opened Lakeland Middle Preparatory School (LMPS) in the near future.
In the fifth of five vision meetings for the BOC (Board of Commissioners) tonight (11.16.17), the focus was on education along with finances and City services. The series was part of the Lakeland 2020 Strategic Plan which started in September.
After presentations by City Manager Jim Atkinson, City Attorney Chris Patterson and Jessica Millspaugh, city finance director and recorder, Vice Mayor summed up the meeting in a few sentences: “Based on current options, we can afford a new bond (financing for the high school wing), not impact City services and no tax increases.”
Dr. Ted Horrell, Lakeland School System superintendent, addressed the BOC providing details on capital needs of the School System including expanding the elementary school, building out the high school and purchasing land for an eventual new school campus.
All school capital plans will be considered at a special Lakeland School Board meeting Monday night (11.20.17).
Mrs. Millspaugh reviewed preliminary information about refinancing the current CON (Capital Outlay Notes) and creating one bond issuance with money needed to build out the high school. She said she ran numbers on 30 and 35 year terms. She said the potential debt service could be $17.2 million which is the balance on the current CON and $33 million which was the suggested figure to build out the high school.
She said the 55-cent property tax provides $1.9 million annually for the loan. So, she said, the City would be subsidizing $1million to $1.3 million. Asked by Vice Mayor Roman what might be the interest rate, she said it would be a little higher for the 35 year term, but likely 4.25 to 4.75 percent.
Mr. Atkinson spoke of areas where the City might find funding for the additional monies. He said the magic number is $710,000 to $1.2 million increased debt service. “Do we have it,” he asked. “Yes,” he answered.
Three budgeting areas that will be looked at for decreasing annual expenditures could be, among others:
- A portion of street paving
- Paying off existing variable rate debt
- Future capital project
He said this is a general approach. “If given the ‘go ahead’ we will explore these and others in more detail.”
The BOC set another special meeting for 5:30 p.m. Nov. 27 following the Nov. 20 LSB special meeting and noting the Thanksgiving holiday in between.
More details on the meeting and appointments to volunteer boards to be posted later to the Lakeland Currents site in a separate story.