DES MOINES — A wide variety of bond issues are being presented in today’s city-school elections in Iowa, including four here in north-central Iowa.
According to an Iowans for Tax Relief analysis, over $1.7 billion in borrowing for bonds will be decided by voters. Sarah Curry is the research director for Iowans for Tax Relief. “When I did this project last March when we had bond elections it was not nearly that high,” Curry says, “so I was actually shocked at how much money local governments were asking for.”
Curry contacted every one of Iowa’s county auditors and learned there will be bond questions on the ballots in 50 counties. 34 school districts are seeking approval to borrow for projects. “We’re not taking a specific stance on any one of the bonds because we’re not living in those communities and we don’t know what the needs are of that community,” Curry says. “We did launch our new website which is ITRlocal.org and so that is more robust than the previous version and it has a breakdown of what school districts and cities and counties are spending their money on and what their property taxes are and their enrollment or population growth so that voters can be more informed.”
Most of the borrowing or bonds being requested are for school infrastructure. “Over $1.2 billion are for schools,” Curry says. “Only $18 million are for cities.” The remaining bond issues are for counties.
Four local school bond issue votes are slated for today’s election:
== The West Fork School District is asking voters to approve a $16.8 million bond issue question to help fund general obligation bonds for repairing the HVAC and electrical systems at both their Rockwell and Sheffield campuses, as well as to fund roof repairs, as well as replace water system piping and add a secure entry to their building in Sheffield.
== The Hampton-Dumont School District has a $17 million bond issue vote to issue general obligation bonds to help pay for improvements to the high school building in Hampton including a new auditorium and new athletic facilities
== The Rudd-Rockford-Marble Rock School District is asking voters to approve a $5.82 million bond issue to improve HVAC systems, remodel existing space in early elementary for daycare, and remodel existing daycare space into classrooms
== The Charles City Community School District has a $28.5 million bond issue question on the ballot that would help pay for renovating the high school building including HVAC, electrical and security systems, classroom, offices, the gym, common areas, site improvements, and to build an auditorium addition to the high school.
The largest bond issue vote in the state is in Polk County, where voters are being asked to approve $350 million in borrowing to help fund construction of a new Des Moines Airport terminal and expand the security checkpoint as well as check-in and baggage claim areas.