The Livonia Central School District is moving forward with the design of its new transportation facility after voters in the district approved a $32.7 million capital project.

But a second proposition to build an athletic complex has district officials going back to the drawing board after the proposal was defeated when the vote ended in a tie.

A total of 439 ballots were scanned between absentee voters and in-person voting on the propositions.

Proposition one passed by a vote of 317 in favor and 120 against. Proposition two received 218 votes in favor and 218 votes against the project. Three voters did not cast a vote on proposition two (for the record, two voters did not cast a vote on proposition one).

Since the vote, District officials have been listening to stakeholders and sharing feedback to learn more about perspectives and opinions regarding proposition two, said District Superintendent Matthew Cole.

The Board of Education on Dec. 20 decided to “begin preparing the process to conduct another public vote for the proposition in the near future,” Cole said in an email to The Livingston County News.

The superintendent said in a pre-vote video that the projects represented the district’s “next step into our future.”

“We’ve been working over the last decade to build on previous projects to make sure we preserve assets and make sure we expand opportunities for kids, and make sure we benefit our community. We are really proud that our school district is one of the main hubs of this community.”

Proposition one passed by a vote of 317 in favor of the project, which also included work to preserve and modernize district assets and make security enhancements, and 120 against. The second proposition received 218 “yes” votes and 218 “no” votes.

The approved project, at a cost not to exceed $32,703,170, will be done in two phases beginning with the transportation facility in spring 2023 with an expected completion in the summer of 2024. The second phase will include asset preservation such as roof repairs and HVAC updates, modernization of classrooms and bathrooms in the Elementary and Middle/High schools, and redesigned safety and security features in the Middle/High School main entrance, including a new main entrance canopy to go with a new main entrance location and main office.

The new main entry will mean “one focal point will be the entry to the main building and will help solidify our safety plan,” Middle/High School Principal John Gammon said in the video.

Planning for phase two will begin in August 2022 with construction expected to being in Spring 2024 and conclude that summer.

About 34% of proposition one is attributed to the 10,000-square-foot transportation center to be built on Bulldog Boulevard, and an additional 13% for site work associated with the facility. The district currently leases a transportation facility off site on South Lima Road and has for many years. Any improvements made at that location are the responsibility of the district’s taxpayers and are not eligible for state aid.

The district owning its own facility will make it eligible for state aid.

The project will included dedicated bus lifts to improve safety for mechanics, a bus wash to improve bus longevity, a fuel island to help reduce fuel costs, and a bus driver training facility, according to the district.

Being on campus also means eliminating time and distance that buses must travel to reach the school.

The project also includes partial reconfiguration along with asphalt replacement of the Middle/High School parking lot, a renovated drop-off loop, and the replacement and installation of football stadium field lighting.

The elementary wings were built 30 years ago and have experienced pieces of cabinets and doors falling, according to the district’s project informational video.

“One of our first priorities is to ensure that the existing facilities we have are run well and work long into the future,” Cole said.

The project will be funded with $1.579 million from a building capital reserve fund established in 2013, $3 million from a building capital reserve fund established in 2021, and $421,000 from current district funds. The balance of the project cost, which is not to exceed $27,703,170, is expected to be offset by state aid and have no affect on taxes.

The district, working with its financial advisors, determined that 95% of the project will qualify for state aid, and the district’s state aid ratio will be 77.9%.

“We are able to put together a ‘worst case scenario’ plan to ensure there will be no additional taxies levied associated with this project,” Cole said. “Of the portion not covered with capital reserves and currently available district funds, we project that 83% will be covered by New York State Building Aid and Debt Service offsets and 17% will be covered by the District’s existing capital budget. This will ensure that our capital budget remains flat which will result in no additional taxes being levied associated with this work.”

The second proposition sought approval to spend up to $9,979,200, to build and make improvements at outdoor athletic facilities, including the construction and installation of a multi-use synthetic turf athletic field, field lights, a new scoreboard and sound system, and new bleachers. The project was also to include renovations to the High School gym locker facilities.

State aid was estimated to cover 77.8% of the cost, or about $7.76 million, while the remaining cost, about $2.2 million, would have been raised through taxes.

For proposition two, the tax rate would increase 12 cents to $19.62 per $1,000 of assessed value from $19.50. The estimated tax payment for a home assessed at $100,000 and with the Basic STAR exemption would increase by $12.70 annually, to $1,330.38 from $1,317.68.

The project would have led to an average increase in the tax rate of 0.65% between 2026 and 2040, according to district data.

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