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Colts Neck voters will be asked to approve $25.5M school referendum

COLTS NECK – Three weeks into a new school year, residents of Colts Neck will be asked to approve a $25.5 million referendum during a special election on Sept. 24.

Polling locations will be open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.

The Colts Neck K-8 School District Board of Education will seek voter approval for a referendum that is expected to address three broad categories: Safety and Security; Health and Compliance; and (being) Energy Efficient and Environmentally Friendly.

District administrators have said the Safety and Security component of the construction package will propose replacing doors, hardware and locks in schools, and the paving and reconfiguration of the district’s Conover Road parking lot.

Administrators said the reconfiguration of the parking lot would include a lane at the back of the complex dedicated for school buses, which will improve traffic flow and improve overall safety at the location.

The Health and Compliance component of the referendum will propose new heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, electrical systems and mechanical systems.

The section dedicated to being Energy Efficient and Environmentally Friendly will propose the replacement of roofing and windows, and the installation of LED lighting.

District administrators have provided the following breakdown of the work:

• $11.36 million at the Conover Road Elementary School, consisting of $7.6 million for Health and Compliance; $1.93 million for Energy Efficient and Environmentally Friendly; and $1.83 million for Safety and Security;

• $10.72 million at the Cedar Drive Middle School, consisting of $7.93 million for Health and Compliance; $1.52 million for Energy Efficient and Environmentally Friendly; and $1.27 for Safety and Security;

• $2.45 million for the reconfiguration of the Conover Road parking lot (Safety and Security);

• $960,000 for Safety and Security upgrades at the Conover Road Primary School.

District administrators said they are holding the special election on Sept. 24 for the following reasons:

• In order to capture debt service aid for the 2020-21 school year, bonds must be sold prior to the end of 2019, and a September referendum affords the district ample time to do so;

• The earlier projects are approved, the earlier the district can begin the process of developing work schedules, secure bids and schedule contractors to minimize the impact to student education and complete all projects as quickly as possible;

• Interest rates are still low.

District administrators have said the board would allocate $2.6 million from its capital reserve and impact aid reserve to alleviate the impact of the construction work on property taxes.

Administrators have said if the referendum is approved by voters, there would be no tax impact in the first year of the 25-year bond, followed by an estimated $48 tax impact and a $72 tax impact in years two and three for the owner of a home assessed at the township average of $828,700.

After that, the average annual tax impact based on an average assessed home of $828,700 would be $248. Officials said the bond would have a 3.6% interest rate and that the school district would receive 34% of the eligible project costs in state aid.

Information about the referendum is available on the school district’s website at https://www.coltsneckschools.org/.

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