NUTLEY, NJ - Citizens of Nutley asked and the school district listened. At the ‘Final Town Hall’ March 8 at John H. Walker Middle School, Washington Elementary parents and staff expressed satisfaction and gratitude for the revised proposed construction plans for their school. A parent in the audience said, ‘We are very pleased with what you have done.’
A much sought after multipurpose room was added to the plans. Its location at the site of the ‘old boiler and coal room’ called for revisions relocating the six additional classrooms.
The kitchen originally proposed at Yantacaw has been eliminated, with space allocated in the event it is needed in the future. No construction changes were made to the middle or high school plans.
The Total Cost of the projects is now $70.4 Million. $2.4 Million of Nutley District’s Capital Reserve Fund will be put towards associated costs. Total cost to bond is $68 Million. (Previous $66.5M)
Breakdown of Investment in four Nutley Schools included in the proposed 2017 Bond Referendum
Yantacaw Elementary = $14.5 Million
Washington Elementary = $9.6 Million [Previous costs = $6.95M Additions = 2.65M – a Multi-Purpose Room was added]
Walker Middle School = $36.7 Million
Nutley High = $9.58 Million
What does this mean to the Nutley Taxpayer?
If the Board of Education votes ‘Yes’ at their Monday, March 13 public meeting to move forward with the bond referendum, the $68 million bond will be divided into two sales to reduce tax impact. (Editor's note: after publication, the Nutley Board of Education announced that the vote will be postponed. Votes will now be cast at the March 27 BOE meeting)
Year 1: Estimated tax impact = $189.50*
Years 2 - 25: Estimated tax impact = $379.00*
The 25 year investment per home = $9,285.50*
* for a Nutley home with the averaged assessed value of $316,427.00. "The assessed value of your home," explained Business Administrator Karen Yeamans, "is what your taxes are based on, not the fair market value of your home."
The district projects 10% Debt Service Aid from the state of New Jersey and an interest rate of 4.30% on the 68M bond with a projected issue date of March 15, 2018.
Regarding current bond debt, Business Administrator Yeamans told the audience that the existing debt was refinanced by the current Board members to ‘save money annually by taking advantage of the lower interest rates’.
The current bonds retire in 2034 and the new debt will carry for 25 years according to Yeamans. The districts bonding capacity is approximately $105 Million.
A business owner asked about the tax impact for commercial property owners. That information was not available at the meeting, but was shared via email after the meeting with the business owners who made the request.The commercial tax rate is the same as the residential tax impact. It is .1197 per $100 of your assessed value.
During the Q & A segment a commercial property owner noted that after a quick calculation the number she came up with was ‘concerning’ given it was only the school portion and did not include the municipal portion.
“Our school buildings are our property and it’s time to upgrade them.” a resident commented ‘we are making an investment in our community in the same way owners of homes and commercial properties invest in upgrading them’. He was applauded when he said, ‘It comes to all of us to make this investment in our community.’
When asked if the district had any feedback from the Board of Commissioners, Superintendent Glazer stated: ‘The Board of Education is separate from the Board of Commissioners and the Planning and Zoning Boards’.
According to Table 3-1 of the Master Plan, Distribution of Existing Land Uses, Public/School/Government land is 51.1 acres or 2.3% of total land in Nutley. At the time of its adoption, the Nutley Master plan included an annual plan review process. Link to Nutley Master Plan
Nutley resident Dawit Zerizghi, has lived in Nutley for 20 years and has been a homeowner for the past 9 years. He questioned why the district’s capital reserve only included 2.4M to put towards the total. Zerizghi had previously attended another Town Hall and attended last night to report back to his friends who were unable to attend.
Mr. Zerizghi has 3 children. The oldest is in first grade at Yantacaw. He said, “I love the town. I am for the improvement and we were expecting more of the money to come from the district.”
Other information shared:
- The district anticipates a 20% enrollment increase over the next 5 years. The proposed solution is anticipated to be a 20 year solution.
- Property purchased by the district from the Reformed Church will provide approximately 50 needed parking spaces. The approximately 300K purchase price is not included in the proposed referendum, those funds are coming from other sources.
- The Pick Up/Drop Off/Parking issues at Yantacaw have been being addressed with the cooperation of the Nutley Police Department and Principal Francia.
The District survey is open to all to provide input, ideas, feedback until end of day Friday March 10 https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/376LZD2
The district requests that citizens interested in serving on a referendum/construction committee, provide their contact information when submitting the survey. Dr. Glazer explained, if it is decided to move forward, the district will be forming some committees over the next few weeks. According to Karen Greco, District Communications Director, "Community action groups will be compiled, beginning in the coming weeks as the need arises. They will not all be formed at this time."
The boards’ decision will be announced at the Open Public Meeting March 13, 2017 at 6:30 p.m. Middle School Choir room. (Editor's note: after publication, the Nutley Board of Education announced that the vote will be postponed. Votes will now be cast at the March 27 BOE meeting)