Bond renewal would keep taxes the same

A bond election being considered by the Clovis Municipal Schools Board of Education would, if passed, would provide $20 million for the school district.

It would also keep intact an existing property tax amounting to about 28 cents per $1,000 in assessed valuation, according to district officials.

The board was given information on a potential bond election at its Jan. 22 meeting, and will choose during a Feb. 26 meeting whether to put the question to voters.

The election is a bond renewal, which would keep the property tax at its current rate of about $4.95 per $1,000 of assessed property.

Jose Cano, financial officer for the district, said if the current bond expires — either by voter rejection or the board declining to call for the election — the tax rate would drop to $4.67 per $1,000 in assessed property.

Assessed property is one-third of actual value, so a $150,000 home in Clovis is subject to school annual property taxes of $247.50. If the tax expires and isn't renewed, it would result in annual taxes of $233.50 on that same home — a difference of $14 a year.

Cano did note that if the bond expired, the district would have to put several approved projects on hold, including construction of James Bickley and Parkview elementary schools.

Other potential uses include parking lot upgrades at Clovis High School and six other facilities, playground equipment replacement and standardization at 10 schools and science lab upgrades at the CHS Freshman Academy and Yucca and Marshall middle schools. Only $16 million in potential bond uses have been identified so far.

Officials with the district and RBC Capital, which works with the district on bond issues, did not have property tax projections based on the bond expiring during the meeting.

Cano said the tax rate is based on many factors, including the overall value of the school district's infrastructure.

Superintendent Terry Myers said staff discussions have broached the possibility of seeking larger bond amounts. But, he said, those discussions usually end with a feeling Clovis residents would have an unfavorable view to further property tax hikes.

Voters approved a $12 million bond issue in 2008 and a $16 million issue in 2010. The increase in bond amounts is largely connected to lower interest rates and growing property values for the district.

As presented by RBC Capital, the overall goal is to have a "bond cycle program," which would allow for a bond election every three or four years and an annual selling of part of those bonds.

If the resolution for the election is approved in the February meeting, the earliest the bond election could take place is May 7.

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