Bond on the Ballot? Property Tax Hike to Pay for New Schools

By: Jessica Zartler Email
By: Jessica Zartler Email

Hundreds of millions of dollars of your money is on the line as the school board decides whether or not to put a school bond on the ballot.

One school group says Mesa County needs the money to relieve overcrowding that's getting worse.

Tuesday night may be the last chance you have to voice your opinion, but before you make up your mind, 11 News Reporter Jessica Zartler breaks

The Mesa County School Board has been trying to tackle growth and overcrowding in schools and taxpayers are trying to swallow potential tax hikes since the Long Range Planning Committee told the board Mesa County is in trouble.

Crowded halls and classrooms are just the beginning according to School Planner Cathy Story.

"We have a thousand more students than we have seats available for them in the schools where they live."

According to School District 51's latest figures in the next five years, enrollment will jump by 2,000 students while some schools are already bursting at the seams.

"Rimrock Elementary has opened at capacity and now is beyond capacity," said Story.

The school board, under the planning group's recommendations, is looking at two plans for the November ballot.

The first, a $185 million plan. It would pay for two new high schools, an elementary school in Fruita, a replacement for Orchard Mesa Middle School and money for the land to build them. There would also be a second question under this plan asking for an additional $6 million in mill levy override money, it would pay for start–up costs for the new schools.

The second plan is for $211 million. It would include everything in the first plan with an additional school in Pear Park. That plan's second question would ask for $8 million in start–up costs.

So what would it mean for you? For a $250,000 home, you would pay an extra $207.12 per year in property taxes. For business property worth $300,000, you would pay $904.80 extra per year-- that's if the board puts the $185 million plan on the ballot and voters approve it with the mill levy override.

For the $211 million plan it would mean an extra $250.32 a year in residential property taxes and $1,093.68 for businesses-- again that's if voters pass the bond and the override.

And even though some people are worried about education, they're also worried about the bottom line.

A balance families in Grand Junction will have to decide on, if the school board puts those questions on the ballot.

The school board meeting is Tuesday night at 6pm at the Basil T. Knight Center on Patterson road.

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