Northampton Press

Saturday, October 20, 2018
PRESS PHOTO BY PAUL WILLISTEINMax Lampenfeld, a member of Lehigh Township Planning Commission, speaks at the Lehigh Elementary School Act 34 public hearing Oct. 8 in the Northampton Area High School cafeteria. PRESS PHOTO BY PAUL WILLISTEINMax Lampenfeld, a member of Lehigh Township Planning Commission, speaks at the Lehigh Elementary School Act 34 public hearing Oct. 8 in the Northampton Area High School cafeteria.

Lehigh costs detailed at Act 34 hearing

Wednesday, October 10, 2018 by Paul Willistein pwillistein@tnonline.com in Local News

District expected to pay $2.5 million annually for 20 years for new school

Financing of the proposed Lehigh Elementary School is expected to cost Northampton Area School District approximately $2.5 million annually for 20 years.

Financial details of the elementary school project were part of a 55-minute Act 34 public hearing, held Oct. 8 in the cafeteria of Northampton Area High School.

One district resident, a Lehigh Township official, spoke at the hearing.

NASD hired a court stenographer to transcribe the hearing. The information and comments presented will be submitted to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, said Attorney C. Steven Miller, NASD solicitor.

Consideration of the Act 34 hearing is expected to be on the agenda of the 6:30 p.m. Nov. 12 school board meeting.

Written statements from the public must be received by 2 p.m. Nov. 7 by Terry Leh, NASD board secretary, at the NASD Administration Building, 2014 Laubach Ave., Northampton.

NASD is financing the $35,788,356 school project through a series of general obligation bonds, said Jamie Doyle, PFM Financial Advisers LLC, NASD financial consultant.

Also presenting at the Act 34 hearing were Henry Guarriello, D’Huy Engineering Inc., construction manager, and Jay Clough, KCBA Architects, project architect.

The bond issue is $35,455,000, derived when interest earned of $263,500 and the original issue premium of $69,856 is subtracted from the school project amount.

The average annual payment at 4 percent for 20 years is $2,578,204.

Millage impact is projected to be 0.95 mill, which includes bonds and indirect costs. One mill in NASD equals $1,083,228.

The millage impact of the bonds is projected to be 0.75 mill.

The first bond, Series of 2018, was issued for $9,980,000, with a 0.11-mill impact.

The rest of the bonds to be issued and their impact are: Series of 2019 for $9,995,000, 0.42 mill; Series of 2020 for $9,995,000, 0.11 mill; and Series of 2021 for $5,485,000, 0.33 mill.

The millage impact of indirect costs for the project is expected to be 0.20 mill annually, or $213,000, including professional personnel, $100,000; support personnel, $85,000; custodial supplies, $500; fuel and utilities, $8,150; contracted maintenance and repairs, $10,000; and insurance premium, $10,000.

NASD didn’t need bond insurance for the 2018 bonds and most likely won’t need bond insurance for upcoming bonds because of the district’s favorable credit rating.

State reimbursement under PlanCon for the elementary school is not expected because of a Pennsylvania moratorium legislated to continue until June 30, 2019. NASD is preparing PlanCon documents should the moratorium expire and not be renewed.

“My question is the need for a new school,” said Max Lampenfeld, of Lehigh Township and a member of the Lehigh Township Planning Commission.

Lampenfeld was the only district resident to speak during the public comment portion of the Act 34 hearing.

“I’m convinced this is a done deal. But it doesn’t mean we have to like it,” Lampenfeld said.

“I see a lot of one-room schools still standing in the district. I’m not suggesting we go back to a one-room school. I’m a product of the one-room school system,” said Lampenfeld.

The NASD Lehigh Elementary School Land Development Plan was to have been considered by the Lehigh Township Planning Commission 6 p.m. Oct. 8.

The school board next meets 6:30 p.m. Oct. 22 in the administration building.