Levy for CUSD #404 set

Cathy Decker/Staff reporter

By a 6-1 vote on Dec. 10, 2008, CUSD #404 board members approved a tax levy rate of $4.30 for the newly consolidated school district. The board has until the end of December 2008, to file the rate with the various counties included in the new school district. Voting against the tax rate was Steve Willits.

The tax rate will raise an estimated $4,939,800 for the new district.

Citizens in each district will be paying additional taxes, based on prior commitments from both Westmer and Aledo. The new rate is $4.30 per $100 of assessed valuation, but Aledo citizens' rate will be increased by $.25 to $4.55 and Westmer's rate will be increased by $.22 to $4.52, to pay off bonds each district is bringing into the new combined district.

Aledo's bond payments are to pay for the newest school in the district - Aledo Junior High. That bond will be paid off in 12 years.

Westmer's bond payments are for the roof and door projects at the Westmer Secondary building in Joy. That bond will be paid off in seven years.

To put the tax rate into perspective, a home valued at $95,000 would have an increase of about $175 for the school's portion of the tax bill.

CUSD #404's equalized assessed valuation for taxes collected in 2009 has been estimated at $114,879,534, of which $38,618,765 comes from Westmer and $76,260,769 comes from Aledo, based on information Aledo superintendent Alan Boucher received from Mercer County Assessor Rick Regnier.

The #404 board also held discussions about health-life-safety issues on the agenda for each district. Aledo has been holding off replacing its high school gymnasium floor for a number of years, in part because of the consolidation question. According to CUSD #404 board member Doug Ball, who also has served on the CUSD #201 Aledo school board for the past several years, this is the last conceivable season for the high school gymnasium floor's usefulness.

The floor is the building's original, which was built in 1953. In order to reflect the new school name on the gym floor, CUSD# 201 (Aledo) will have to replace the gym floor. Boucher says the new floor's estimated replacement cost is at around $150,000. "The total cost of between $220,000 to $250,000 would be for replacement of both the floor and bleachers," said Boucher.

He said the district's architect already has a request into the state for this health-life-safety project.