Rangely school board OKs mill levy

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RANGELY — It’s the time of year for approving budgets and mill levies.
At a Dec. 8 meeting, it was the Rangely School Board’s turn. The board approved a total mill levy of 8.022. The previous year, the mill levy was 7.085.
“It’s going to be higher because of the bond issue,” said Superintendent Dwayne Newman.
Local voters approved $15 million in bonds Nov. 4 to fund improvements at all three Rangely schools.
“I had some good news from our bonding company,” Newman said. “All of our bonds sold. We are on track for closing on the 19th.”
The bond closing, Newman said, is like closing on the purchase of a house.
“We’ll make sure things are in order, and then we’ll start signing documents,” Newman said. “Then, once they are signed, that’s actually the trigger for the money to be deposited in the district’s bank accounts.”
The board acted quickly to get the bonds sold, and it paid off, Newman said.
“Some of these other bonds that are coming onto the market, there was a big offering and some couldn’t sell all of their bonds, and the interest on bonds is going up,” Newman said. “So we feel good that we got ‘em in at a good rate and at a good time.”
Interest on the bonds is 3.867, Newman said. The bonds were sold Dec. 2.
“We had a maximum cap on ours of 5.5, and we were told there are bonds out there going above that,” Newman said. “This was some guidance we got from our consultant. He did a good job of reading the market and making sure we got a good rate before the market was flooded.”
John Potter of the Blythe Group, the project manager hired by the district, gave a presentation at the board’s Dec. 8 meeting.
“He presented a more detailed timeline to the board,” Newman said. “We’re narrowing things down, we’re putting dates on things.”
A general contractor for the project is expected to be hired in January.
“Then we go into a schematic design phase and start writing up diagrams needed for construction,” Newman said.
By mid-April, the board hopes to have figures on construction costs.
“We should have what they call the guaranteed maximum price at that point, Newman said. “In a design build arrangement, you get all of your bids in, and by April 13 we will know what all of the construction costs will be. So we will know exactly what the district can expect to pay for the construction part of this.”
The board is moving ahead on non-construction items, accepting bids for a maintenance vehicle, an ag vehicle and new computers for a lab at Parkview Elementary. The computer lab should be up and running around the first of January, Newman said, in order to be ready for MAPs (Measures of Academic Progress) testing. The cost of the computers for the elementary school was nearly $30,000. New computers will also be purchased for the high school and middle school.
In addition, the board approved a bid for $18,500 from Joy Surveying of Meeker.
“We’re looking at rerouting some bus drop-off places and doing some different things,” Newman said. “We need to get that done before the snow flies.”