Putnam County Commissioners expressing reservations on making a decision on the additional funding for Park View Schools.
Over one-third of the commission changing hands. The school board has indicated that an additional $15 million will be needed to construct the upper grade wing. Commissioner Kim Bradford said there are no straight answers, but the new commission should be involved.
“The next four years is as much as their four years as my four years and any other commissioner returning,” Bradford said. “I feel like we should respect them enough to give the opportunity to work through this process with us.”
Nine new commissioners will take office next month. If the project moves forward, they will be tasked with finding ways to fund the $15 million such as a property tax increase. Commissioner Chris Cassetty said that is a hard situation for a new commissioner to take over.
“Three of the nine new commissioners are people that have previously served at some time in the past, but it is tough to have to make decisions right when you come online,” Cassetty said.
Bradford said the situation has been one of the hardest decisions she has been tasked with in 12 years as commissioner. Bradford said she thinks it is not the time to bond out $15 million that would bring a new tax burden on residents.
“We’re going to have to look at the need and if we can wait for two years,” Bradford said. “And if we wait two years, is it going to double the price? Right now, I really don’t have a good answer. There are a lot of things we have to look at.”
Cassetty said he thinks the county commission has a few months before making a decision. However, Cassetty said the future prices could rise or fall over that time which adds to the complexity of the issue.
“I always try to listen to the people of the sixth district, to my constituents and the people of Putnam County in general,” Cassetty said. “I’ve had some conversations with people about this. It’s very clear people would love to have a K-8 school there, but there is also people rightfully so that don’t want that to be put on the tax payers with an increase in property taxes. At the end of the day what I would do to weigh my final decision is to determine what is most cost effective for the county in the long term.”