Tyngsboro councils vote to fund new school debt as part of operating budget
TYNGSBORO — A plan overwhelmingly approved at a recent joint meeting of the Board of Selectmen, School Committee and Finance Committee will reduce the cost to ratepayers of building a new college by $82.5 million.
Tri-Board members voted 13 to 1 to fund $1 million a year of college debt under the existing operating budget.
The three councils will recommend a budget at the May 3 town meeting that will set aside portions of revenue from several large residential and commercial developments coming online over the next five to 10 years.
City Administrator Matt Hanson said the financing plan would reduce the impact on the average tax bill by $702 to $410 per year.
The plan “shows a commitment to reducing the impact on ratepayers,” Selectmen President Ron Keohane said.
The first major project to come online is a new 100-unit, fully licensed and ready-to-start development on Sherburne Road. When complete, the project, which would be called the Enclave in Tyngsboro, will be an age-restricted community built on land that was once several holes of the Tyngsboro Country Club.
The projected new revenue from this project is $989,000.
“Going forward, Town Meeting can always decide to add more revenue to the school through new growth,” Keohane said.
Toll Brothers, described on its website as a leading luxury home builder, is the developer of the Enclave in Tyngsboro. The company has also developed the Enclave in Boxboro and Emerald Pines in Methuen as well as several other similar communities in the state.
According to Massachusetts School Building Authority regulations, the city must issue a bond for the total cost of the college project, or $82.5 million. The MSBA will reimburse the city for $28 million, leaving the city liable for $52 million for the project. The million dollars set aside from new revenues is a third source of funding.
The proposed college requires two votes this spring, according to MSBA guidelines. For it to pass, the city assembly must approve a debt exclusion by a two-thirds vote on May 3. A debt foreclosure means a temporary increase in property taxes, outside of the 2 ½ Proposition limits, to raise the funds needed to pay debt service charges. for a specific capital project, such as a school.
If the school receives a two-thirds vote on May 3, a simple majority of city voters must still vote to raise and appropriate the funds in the May 17 municipal election, which will be the second of two votes. required.
If either vote fails, the MSBA will not provide funds for the project. After 11 years of trying to get MSBA approval for a new college, the city is set to fall to the back of a long line of school districts seeking school funding.
Each year, the MSBA reviews applications for funds, but selects only those it believes are most in need. It is estimated that Tyngsboro will have to wait another eight years for further MSBA approval.
The only vote against the plan at the tri-council meeting was cast by finance committee chairman Billy Crawford.
The current Tyngsboro Middle School was built in 1968.