Livingston — Denham Springs-area property owners will likely see their property tax millages go down after the Livingston Parish School Board on Thursday voted to refinance bonds used to build the Juban Parc Elementary and Junior High schools.
Meeting in a special session, the board — minus absent members Sid Kinchen, Kellee Hennessy and Karen Schmitt — unanimously approved the sale of $16.6 million in bonds at a lower interest rate, expected to save the district about $600,000, attorney David Henderson said.
The district issued $26 million in 2007 to fund a variety of projects, including the new Juban Parc schools, which opened in 2010. The bonds are still scheduled to be paid off in May 2027, but the lower rate will translate to a modest savings of slightly more than $50,000 a year, Henderson said.
The bonds have been repaid through a property tax, which amounted to 11.22 mills last year, said Livingston schools Business Manager Terry Hughes. The tax is collected within a district that encompasses Denham Springs, as well as unincorporated areas of the parish to the north of the city and south to Port Vincent, which also falls within the district.
It is unclear what the new rate will be moving forward because the parish has not yet assessed 2015 property values. If the area continues to grow, revenue from the new developments could push down individual taxpayers’ contribution further, Hughes said.
In other news, Walker High School is running out of time to build a new football field before the fall season starts. The board was presented with bids for a new track and turf field but were told the completion date for the construction would run dangerously close to the first games of the season.
A previous call for bids contained an error, meaning the issue was delayed about a month, board member Jimmy Watson said. Summer rain could delay the project further, meaning the field might not be ready to host early games.
Watson asked the board not to vote on the matter so he could go back to the school’s coaches and see if they might be able to shuffle their schedule to make sure the field is ready for the home opener.
Each game is worth between $8,000 and $10,000 in ticket sales and concessions, and Watson said he doesn’t want the school to lose out on revenue. If the board can’t install the new field in time, the project may be put off another year.
“It’s just a chance I don’t know I want to take,” Watson said.
The issue may be brought back during the board’s next meeting in May, but Watson said he may request a special meeting to address the issue.
The improvements to the Walker High football field are part of an ongoing $25 million effort to expand the campus, which will include the addition of new administrative, vocational and classroom facilities.
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