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home : opinion : letters to the editor
October 26, 2020

9/30/2020 11:01:00 AM
RRC referendum info needs clarification

I need to clarify information presented by Red Rock Central about the school referendum.
First, the school board had their minds made up to build a new school before the community-led task force, which I was a part, was convened. They didn't do maintenance for years, planning on a new building.
The cost to renovate the existing building wouldn't need to be $18.9 million. For example, they had new football field lighting in the renovation budget, but don't need it with a new school.
Windows that were replaced for energy efficiency now don't let enough light in. They also have "wants" listed as needs.
Secondly, the task force recommendation is for a new building. What they don't say is the vote was divided clearly by households that won't pay much for the building and landowners who pay most of the bill.
Residential property pays 5.1% of the bill. Agricultural taxpayers pay 86.8%. Commercial/industrial pays 8%. These percentages were presented to the task force.
Remember, in the four Red Rock Central communities most commercial property is farmer-owned co-ops.
I am tired of the board informing voters this will only cost us $9 a year. According to the 'Tax Impact 20 RRC Notice Rev" on the RRC website, 160 acres of non-homestead land valued at $6,000/acre X $5.25 (Annual Taxes Payable) is $840/year! That is $21,000 over the 25 years!
Think what the farmers' added expense will do to businesses and jobs. Most farmers will pay more in school taxes in 25 years than what an average local residential home costs.
According to Ehlers, our 880 acres will cost us $4,439/year more for just the building. Over 25 years that is $110,975. That's in addition to the $1,922.21 per year we currently pay.
This puts us at $6,361.21 per year - $159,030 over 25 years!
This will affect businesses and communities. Farmers will see increased rental rates from landlords (who cannot vote against the referendum because they don't live in the district).
If this district wants a new building it must be cost-effective and much less than $42 million dollars. Worthington's referendum for a 600-student building was $36 million. Please e-mail Ehlers to learn what it will cost you.
Finally, why pay $1.5 million to demolish the old building? The district didn't demolish schools in three other communities.
The only responsible vote is "NO." Have RRC come up with an affordable option!
- Glen Graff,

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