$14.3-million bond issue comes before Riverside voters Tuesday


December 3rd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Administrators and others interested in improving the Riverside Community School District’s facilities, hope the fourth time at bat yields a home run with the voters. Superintendent Dr. Jim Sutton says this time around, there’s a big difference in the type of facility patrons of the district will be voting on. Sutton told KJAN News they went from the previously proposed and rejected Pre-K through 12th grade building to a 7th through 12th grade building. The final proposal came through suggestions from the community, and includes updating and consolidating the athletic complex, and the installation of a geo-thermal heating and cooling system.

Sutton says he thinks the pared-down and prioritized $14.3-million dollar bond referendum will be approved by the voters. The same day patrons of the Riverside District will be heading to the polls, residents of 13 southwest and western Iowa counties will be casting their ballots on a $22.5-million dollar bond issue, to be used for Iowa Western Community College Construction and renovation projects. Sutton doesn’t think the fact both bond issues are being held at the same time will impact turnout for the Riverside District’s vote. He says people have heard the information that’s been presented by Iowa Western officials, and he doesn’t think it will be a problem, because the Iowa Western bond which is intended to generate $22.5-million dollars actually ends-up lowering the tax rate by 10-cents per thousand dollars valuation.

Speaking of tax rates, if the Riverside bond issue passes Tuesday, it will increase the tax asking by a maximum $2.70 per thousand dollars residential property valuation. Sutton says the current tax rate for all funds in the 2013 Fiscal Year is $9.63/thousand, which is still lower than surrounding districts, and the eight lowest rate out of 357 districts in the State this year. The bond issue will raise about two-thirds of the $22.1 million dollars needed for the project. The rest of the money ($7.8-million) will come from the district’s savings and borrowing against the remaining sales tax.

Sutton says this latest attempt to float a bond issue is a “step forward,” in terms of providing greater savings to the district. He says they’re kind of “In the 11th hour “as far as the High School is concerned. Either they will have to spend a lot of money to make the facility compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act [ADA] and energy efficient, or they will have to come up with a plan that charts a completely new course with a more efficient building that meets current and future needs.

The only polling place for the Riverside bond referendum allowed by the Pottawattamie County Auditor’s office is at the Carson Community Building. Patrons may cast their ballots from 7-a.m. to 8-p.m. Tuesday. For more information, check out the district’s November Newsletter at http://www.riversideschools.org/vimages/shared/vnews/stories/4ca0e8b9d15c7/November%202012%20Newsletter.pdf