W-MU readies for bond vote Tuesday
BY KARYN SPORY
Mt. Pleasant News
WINFIELD – In just a few days’ time, the Winfield-Mt. Union Community School District will know if a summer filled with construction will be in its future.
After years of researching, mulling and debating, the W-MU School Board presented the community with a $9.5 million plan to upgrade the school’s practice gym, industrial arts classroom, constructing a commons area and bringing the pre-K and kindergarten classes into the main building. On Tuesday, residents will vote on the bond referendum.
“It’s an impact on everyone,” acknowledged Superintendent Jeff Maeder. “Farmers are a group that tend to be the most impacted, so therefore they have the most concerns over the project.”
On Monday evening, the district held an informational meeting, including a financial presentation from the district’s financial advisor Piper Jaffray on how taxes are determined.
Of the $9.5 million project, residents would only be taxed for $7.2 million. The remaining $2.3 million would come from revenue from the state’s penny sales tax dollars and is earmarked to pay for the district’s new HVAC system, regardless of how the vote tallies up on Tuesday.
In order to borrow up to $7.2 million, the ballot will feature two questions – the first question would allow the district to levy up to $2.70 per $1,000 taxable valuation, the second would permit a tax levy not to exceed $4.05. Both questions must receive 60 percent approval or the project fails.
“I think there’s a lot of support for improving our school and for the design that we have in place right now. There’s a lot of enthusiasm and a lot of motivation to bring our school up to date,” said Maeder. “As far as how much that is, if it’s 60 percent or more I don’t know for sure, but I do know an awful lot of people do support it.”
When it comes to how Iowa properties are taxed, Matt Gillaspie, of Piper Jaffray, had previously explained that Iowa properties are not taxed to their full-assessed amount, but rather a rollback amount. For residential properties, the rollback is 55.63 percent, 90 percent for commercial properties and 46.12 percent for agricultural land. Residential properties also received a homestead credit.
Essentially, for a home with an assessed value of $60,000, the change in annual tax payment would be $77.02.
“We’re hopeful the vote will come out,” said Maeder, “but as in all these types of things, there are people who are just not comfortable funding at that level.”
Madeder said throughout the whole process, he has been encouraged by how involved the community has been. “Whether you vote yes or no, with the kind of turn out we’ve had (at these meetings), the fact that they have came out, they have an interest in our school.”
Maeder continued by saying he believes the vote Tuesday will be close and either way, on Wednesday, the district will have a lot to do.
“I think we have a great community here that want a strong school; it’s just a matter of how we get that accomplished,” he said.