Voorheesville voters approve $2.7M project

Severe snowstorm leads to sparse turnout at school’s polls

— Heavy snowfall and slick roads did not stop Voorheesville Central School District’s capital project bond vote.

Fewer than 200 people cast a ballot Tuesday, Dec. 17, on Voorheesville’s proposed $2.7 million bond project, which passed with 131 votes in favor and 52 votes against. A majority of the cost is tied to reconstructing the high school’s built-up roof for $2.345 million. The remaining expenses include reconstructing walls above the roof, replacing network switches and adding 60 drop points of wireless access.

Superintendent Teresa Thayer Snyder was “thrilled” the bond passed given the “awful weather” voters con-tended with to cast a ballot.

“I am grateful to those hearty souls who were able to make it in,” Snyder said in an email. “I am also grateful to my staff who ran the vote and cleared the lots as best as they could! The bond passage means we can care for our building, and next spring with a new roof in place, we will not be dodging buckets in the halls!”

Assistant Superintendent for Business Gregory Diefenbach agreed the weather “clearly had a lot to do” with the low turnout.

Voter turnout was significantly less than the district’s last capital project referendum in 2006 totaling $5.82 million. There were 674 votes cast that year, with 431 in favor and 243 opposed.

The 2013-14 budget vote had 800 ballots cast and was approved with 459 votes in favor. Budget votes, though, typically have a higher voter turnout than standalone bond referendums.

The district is slated to receive state aid covering 61.8 percent of the project’s costs, and the district is tapping $555,000 from its building project reserve funds. The amount borrowed will not exceed $2,147,700.

The bond will be paid off over 16 years and holds an annual tax increase per $1,000 assessed value of 6.7 cents for a New Scotland homeowner, 7.3 cents in Guilderland and 10.1 cents in Berne.

Roof replacement and masonry repairs are projected to begin next summer, and technology upgrades are planned to start next December.

Taxpayers will likely face another capital project proposal in coming years. Diefenbach said there are “still a lot of things” the district needs to address.

Officials previously said the next items being eyed, including replacing boilers, total less than $3.48 million and address fire and safety, infrastructure and a 2,500 square-foot shelter for satellite fields.

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