Badger Board takes step towards two ballot funding questions

At its July 13 meeting, the Badger School Board approved hiring legal counsel and financial consulting services to prepare two ballot questions— one to extend its existing operating levy and, two, to renew its existing capital projects levy— for the upcoming November 3 election. District voters are not voting on a tax increase with either of these questions, but to just help maintain or renew the funds the district has. The board approved putting these questions on the ballot by a unanimous vote; Board Chairperson Jamie Isane was absent from the meeting.

In a correspondence to the board after the meeting, Badger Superintendent-Principal Kevin Ricke did provide it with preparation fees of both legal counsel and financial consult services back in 2010-11. During that period, the district paid $6,000 in legal counsel fees to Dorsey and Whitney LLP, and $3,000 in financial consult fees to Springsted Incorporated.

Ricke said he would get quotes or estimates for these services. In a later correspondence with The Tribune, Ricke explained how he did get quotes or estimates for these services and found out they would be similar to 2010-11, maybe less, adding how it would depend on the information disbursement fees (publishing and mailing) related to these ballot questions— costs the school would take on internally.

As for review, the Badger School District voters approved a capital project levy in November 2010 and a operating levy in November 2011. This capital project levy will expire at the end of the 2021 fiscal year, and the operating levy at the end of the 2022 fiscal year.

If the district doesn’t renew the capital project levy at the same level, it will lose approximately $51,573 in revenue. To make up for this loss in revenue, the district was looking at placing one of two options on a ballot: a capital project levy or a General Obligation Bond. The bond option would have opened up the district to the Ag2School Credit, a credit that applies to agricultural properties, including agricultural homestead and agricultural non-homestead.

As for the district’s operating levy, if it doesn’t renew it, the district would lose over $200,000 in revenue. The district’s current operating levy will generate $231,483.36 in revenue for the 2021 fiscal year. During a June 29 work session, Matt Rantapaa (Senior VP at Baird Public Finance of R.W. Baird & Co.) and Ricke recommended the board put a higher priority on the operating levy, even though this operating levy expires later than the capital project levy.

Badger’s recent voting history has consistently provided for more “yes” than “no” votes. Since 1991, the district has passed all five of its operating levies (in 1991, 1996, 1999, 2003, and 2011), and its lone capital projects levy (in 2010).

Next Meeting: The board’s next regularly scheduled meeting takes place on Monday, August 10 at 7:30 pm.

To see the complete story, read the July 22 issue of The Tribune in print or online.

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