The Hamburg Area School Board learned on Sept. 8 that building a new Perry Elementary School could push the district's overall financial debt past $100 million.Financial advisors presented two scenarios to the board for financing a new school that could cost an estimated $25 million.
In the first scenario, Stephen Flaherty of RBC Capital Markets, Lancaster, said that the district could borrow $25 million which would be combined with the district's current debt of $49.9 million. The district would spend almost $86 million by the year 2026 to repay the debt.
Flaherty said that a 1.64 mill-age increase would be needed to offset the new debt and could be phased in over a three-year period at.55 mills per year.
In the second scenario, Brad Remig of The PFM Group, Harrisburg, said that bond payments could be stretched out to lighten the millage impact. He said that a.71-millage increase would be needed to offset the new debt with almost $101 million being spent by the year 2032 to repay the total debt. He said that the.71-mill increase could be phased in over three years.
"You can also do a hybrid of these scenarios," Flaherty said. "and go according to desired millage."
Superintendent Steven Keifer said that while the first scenario is "more painful up front, in the long term it's the cheaper way to go."
Some board members preferred option number two. Board President Brooke Adams noted that over the past 12 years several building projects have been completed, including a new middle school, renovations to the high school and a new elementary school in Tilden that opened this month.
"This generation of taxpayers has paid a burden," President Brooke Adams said. "They're paying for (the projects) and the next generation will reap the benefits."
Board member Harold Lesher agreed that "other generations should help pay for it."
In other news, district resident David Behm told board members that he is concerned about the district's use of Interstate 78 for daily bus runs.
"Old (Route) 22 is a safe alternative," Behm said. "Saving five minutes on (Interstate) 78 doesn't outweigh the danger. I know that crashes can occur anywhere at any time, but with the number of tractor trailers on the highway traveling in excess of 65 miles per hour Old (Route) 22 is safer.
"I know that you are worried about long rides, but what about safe rides?"
Adams said that the board would "look at other options. But when the State Street Bridge is closed for repairs, we may have no options."
Board member John Driscoll was absent.
The next board meeting is Sept. 22 at 6:30 p.m. in the high school.