Livingston — Property taxes could go down in parts of Livingston Parish after the School Board on Thursday voted to refinance millions of dollars in bond money.
In 2007, School District 1 issued $26 million to fund the construction of Juban Parc Elementary and Juban Parc Junior High schools, which opened in 2010. The money, funded through a millage, also paid for improvements at other schools in the Denham Springs district.
During Thursday’s meeting, the board voted to refinance up to $18.5 million of the remaining balance at a new rate. The bonds had an interest rate a little over 4 percent, but underwriters are aiming for a new rate around 2.7 percent, which would save an estimated $60,000 per year, according to a presentation by Raymond James Financial Inc.
The bonds are still expected to be paid off by May 2027, attorney David Henderson said. Because the new bonds will carry a lower interest rate, it is likely the district can roll back the millages used to repay them, Superintendent John Watson said. However, it’s unclear how much of a difference a property owner will see. Historical millage information was not available Thursday evening.
In other news, the board voted to team up with the parish government to secure money from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for improvements at Live Oak Middle School. As part of the deal, the school gym will get upgrades such as a new roof and floor so it can serve as an emergency shelter. School District 2 will kick in a quarter of the cost of the project — estimated to run $1.9 million total. The parish will pay the rest, using funding from a FEMA grant.
Board member Kellee Dickerson said the schools and parish had been trying for months to find federal help financing the project.
“We needed it so bad. … It’s going to be a huge shot in the arm,” she said.
The building improvements will beef up storm protection and give the gym FEMA certification to be a Red Cross staging area and shelter for the area in disasters.
Thursday marked the first meeting of a new term and saw the induction of recently elected board members Jim Richardson and Jan Benton. The seven incumbents returned without facing opposition during the November election.
Board President Malcolm Sibley and Vice President Buddy Mincey Jr. were each re-elected to their positions unanimously and without opposition.
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