On the agenda for Tuesday night’s (Nov. 17) Batavia School Board meeting:
- Vote to spend $56,000 on a design proposal for artificial turf. According to estimates from Sep. 2014, the artificial turf itself plus the necessary storm water detention that goes with it, would cost nearly $2 million for installation. The other changes that they want plus the artificial turf would cost $4.8 million for the football stadium alone. PLUS, the estimate doesn’t include an additional $500,000 every 8-10 yrs (at least $50,000/yr if they save for it) to replace just the one field of artificial turf. Artificial turf is admittedly more costly to maintain than natural grass, plus carries many risks to health and safety. More on the athletic fields redevelopment plan can be found here.
- Plans, again, to levy taxes to the maximum allowed by law, increasing the levy by the CPI (.8% this year) plus new construction. Because the CPI is so low and after new construction is added in, they’re projecting savings for homeowners. But their projections may not be so rosy for you if your home’s value increased more than others’ (it’s all relative). If you want to see what their proposal will mean for your home, go to the Batavia Township Assessor‘s website (or whatever township assessor you belong to), look up your assessments for 2014 and 2015, subtract your homestead exemption (if applicable–usually $6000) and multiply the differences (Net Taxable Value) by the respective school district tax rates of .065706 for 2014 and .063351 projected for 2015.
Blanket statements of estimated savings don’t work. It’s better to acknowledge that as long as they keep raising their levy and spending more money, even as enrollment is declining, there will be people paying more taxes.
What can you do? Email the school board by clicking the button to the right. Pressure them to put the artificial turf to referendum. They really believe the recently defeated referendum was just about voters not wanting more debt, and that we really would like artificial turf if it can be done without the debt. Let’s see if that’s true by putting it to referendum. Then ask them to stop the automatic tax levy increases every year. If they have lots of money sitting around for things like artificial turf, they can certainly afford to give taxpayers a significant property tax break.
Better yet, show up at the Tuesday night meeting, 7pm. If you wish to speak, be there before 7pm and fill out their pink sheet with your name and topic; being at all late means they won’t let you speak. Will they listen? Probably not. But at least you’ll have tried.