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$60 million school bond vote comes Monday
Feb 28, 2005 12:00 am
Wilson County squires are expected to approve the issuance of $60 million in bonds Monday to address school building needs identified in the board of education's growth plan.
And though the building plan will most immediately impact schools in West Wilson County – including plans for a new high school in Mt. Juliet and adding to Wilson Central High School in Gladeville – Wilson County Mayor Robert Dedman said the bond issuance is likely to garner support from lawmakers countywide.
A portion of the funds will be used for improvements at Lebanon and Watertown high schools and to commission studies regarding future building needs of both facilities, Dedman explained.
It is an element of the plan Dedman said likely to garner support from commissioners whose districts are east of Highway 109 – squires who often bemoan the expenditure of tax dollars for West Wilson County schools, maintaining it is usually at the expense of schools in the central and eastern portions of the county.
"Watertown is in bad need of more space … We'll look at that too in the future because Watertown is beginning to grow a little bit," Dedman said. "The (population) move is going east now, so we've got to prepare for it."
According to the resolution considered by commissioners Monday, the funds may be used for a number of purposes including acquisition of land and site development "for high school purposes," constructing, repairing, renovating and equipping high schools and legal, administrative, architectural and engineering costs related to the building projects.
The bond issuance is also likely to garner support from county commissioners, because it will not require any additional tax revenue, Wilson County Finance Director Ron Gilbert said.
Revenue generated as a result of county lawmakers' recent nod to a $2,000 increase in the local adequate facilities fee levied on new construction, Gilbert continued, will eliminate the need for any additional revenue.
Combined with plans to study needs in Lebanon and Watertown, Dedman said the county's financial ability to fund the projects will help the resolution's chances at Monday's meeting.
"I think it will help it very much," Dedman said.
If the $60 million bond issuance is approved, growth-laden Mt. Juliet is likely to be the first area in the county to see construction projects begin.
After the construction of a new Mt. Juliet high school, Gilbert said plans call for the city's middle school to be moved to the former Mt. Juliet High School and for the establishment of a new elementary school at Mt. Juliet Middle School's current location.
Staff Writer Brian Harville can be reached at 444-3952 ext. 16 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.