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Tag Archive | "repairs"

Residents to vote on sinking fund millage


POTHOLE HEAVEN: Miles of roads on the Cedar Springs School campus are in dire need of repair. The district hopes that voters will pass a sinking fund millage to help pay for the costs.

By Judy Reed

 

When voters in the Cedar Springs Public School district head to the polls on February 28, there will be more choices than whom they want for president. They will also be voting on whether to allow the school to levy 1 mill to create a sinking fund to help renovate and repair school roads, buildings, and other items allowed under the law.

If passed, the owner of a home valued at $100,000 would pay about $50 a year toward the fund over a 10-year period. It’s estimated that the first year would bring in about $521,000.

“It must be used for capital improvements,” said Assistant Superintendent David Cairy. “It cannot be used on supplies or new equipment.” He said they have a 75-page document that is very specific about what the funds can be used for. Cairy said they would look first at what was deteriorating the most.

He said that milling and repaving roads would be a top priority, given the age and the rate at which they are deteriorating. They have been doing small sections at a time and patching where needed, but major work needs to be done. “If we keep putting it off, we’d have to make a larger investment later,” he explained.

Hundreds of vehicles drive over the campus everyday, including buses, school vans, staff, student and parent vehicles. “It’s especially more worn where the buses are grinding over the road four times a day,” noted Cairy.

The cost to mill and repave, do curb and gutter work, and sub-pavement aggregate work is estimated to cost somewhere between $1,000,000 and $1,500,000, which would eat up a big portion of the maintenance budget. The current school budget for maintenance is $2 million.

Second on their priority list is parking expansion at Cedar Trails Elementary, Beach Elementary and the High School, with improved pick up and drop off, which could cost $235,000 to $450,000. Other items on the list put together by a community advisory committee include security modifications, technology infrastructure, and replacement of aged gym floors at Beach and Cedar View.

Cedar Springs, like many in Michigan, has been battling increasing costs and shrinking revenue from the state, forcing millions of dollars in cuts over the last few years. And while it is still early in the state budget process, Cairy estimated that according to the Governor’s plan, they might see $500,000 less in revenue than last year. And that doesn’t take into account increased expenditures.

Cairy noted that the great thing about the sinking fund is that it will be carefully scrutinized and audited, and that every dollar that comes in can be spent on their needs. “It meets our goal of not incurring any debt,” he said.

And what if the millage doesn’t pass? “Things will get reallocated, or we may have to take money out of the fund balance. But we have done cold-patching on the roads as long as we can.”

 

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Skinner Field: should it be improved?


OUT OF THE RUNNING—The rubberized track at Skinner Field, once state of the art, is showing some age. The question is, who has the money to repair it?

By Judy Reed

 

When SSGT Charles Towns comes home to Cedar Springs from Georgia, he runs on the track at Skinner Field—and wonders what will become of it. He was recently upset to hear that the school was seeking a sinking fund millage for school repairs, and there was no mention of repairs for the track at Skinner Field. “I just want to know what their plan for Skinner is,” he said in an email to the Post.

On Friday, July 6, 1948, the Village of Cedar Springs paid tribute to Bert Skinner, a leading citizen and businessman. Part of the tribute was the dedication of Cedar Springs Public School’s lighted athletic field, on the west side of Morley Park. In 1991, a gift was given to the school district, to construct a running track at the field. An agreement signed by both the school and city made it available for both school athletic events and the community to run on. It was created partly on school property and partly on city property, with the school district responsible for maintenance for a period of 99 years, or until they relocated the field and running track.

PEELING PAINT—The school district only has the budget to do basic maintenance at Skinner Field.

That happened in the mid-2000s, when Red Hawk Stadium was approved by the voters as part of a bond issue. Most school athletic events are now held at Red Hawk Stadium, although the middle school still uses the track at Skinner, as do members of the general public.  Red Hawk stadium is not open for the public to run on. Other groups also use Skinner Field, such as Rocket football and semi pro teams.

In 2007, the school transferred the last parcel they owned at Skinner Field to the city of Cedar Springs, but the school has continued to do maintenance on the field, such as mowing, trimming, picking up trash, maintaining the turf, watering, and paying the water bill. According to Asst. Superintendent David Cairy, they spend about $10,000 to $15,000 per year on Skinner Field.

Neither the city nor the school system, both with shrinking revenues, currently has money budgeted for repairs at Skinner Field. Under the terms of the contract, the school could remove the improvements if the cost to repair exceeded the cost of removal. The visiting side bleachers were removed due to safety issues several years ago.

“As a voter I would go with a compromise that would allow them to save up for several years. I do not want to sink the school district, but if their plan for Skinner is not to even be concerned, and just let it fall apart, while they maintain Red Hawk Stadium, I find that unacceptable. The whole community uses that track, and they promised to maintain it,” said Towns.

Cairy said that repair of a track is allowable under a sinking fund millage, but they need to look at what their most urgent needs are. He noted that repair of the track could cost as high as $20,000.

Emails by Towns to both the school and the city has gotten the two entities to begin discussing what the future of Skinner Field might be. “In the past 10 years we’ve worked pretty closely together, and share many of the same goals,” said Cairy.

The two groups plan to meet in the near future to discuss the issue.

Do you use the track at Skinner Field? Email us and let us know what you think of the issue at news@cedarspringspost.com.

 

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