Cato-Meridian

Resurfacing Cato-Meridian's track is part of a proposed capital project.

The Cato-Meridian Central School District is in the early stages of planning a capital project taxpayers could vote for by year's end.

The $3 million to $5 million project and the possible referendum for it were discussed at a district board of education meeting Monday. District Superintendent Noel Patterson said Tuesday that although the exact costs and scope haven't been determined yet, the project will focus on updating and renovating district facilities.

The three main items the district wants to cover are replacing the district pool's dehumidification​ system, resurfacing the track and replacing a portion of the Cato-Meridian Community Recreation Center's roof, Patterson said. He said the district would also like to fit in renovations like work on various classrooms and lockers.

Patterson said he will be meeting with financial advisers in the hopes of having "much more concrete numbers" and other details fleshed out by the next board meeting on Sept. 26. By October, the district would like to have the board vote on whether to hold a public referendum on the project, and, if approved, hold that vote for taxpayers in December, he said.

The endeavor is intended to have no financial impact on the district's tax levy, Patterson said. If it gets the green light from voters, the state education department would then review the proposal. The district's estimated building aid from the state for the 2017-2018 school year is around 88 percent, Patterson said, and if the extent of the project is found to fall within aid eligibility, the costs will be aided at that level.

The superintendent said the replaced dehumidification system​ would be for the pool in the recreation center attached to the elementary school. He also said the district's track was first installed in 2005 and has been patched numerous times in the following years, especially from water damage. He noted that resurfacing the area would allow the district to avoid more patching.

Taxpayers approved the creation of a capital reserve of a maximum amount of $5 million back in May to fund future projects. The school board approved the transfer of $1,208,111 from the district's unappropriated fund balance to the capital fund balance Monday.

Staff writer Kelly Rocheleau can be reached at (315) 282-2243 or kelly.rocheleau@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter @KellyRocheleau.

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