To the editor:
It is said that “figures don’t lie, but liars figure.” Readers may be tired of the dollar figures yours truly submitted in a series on taxes early this year. But figures, like words, mean things. Mentioned in the series were “once a tax, always a tax” and the need for transparency in bond issues.
As usual, USD 453 has listed the bond at the figure of interest to contractors, $36.76 million, and contractor Mike Reilly’s May 9 letter shows his support of the bond. That’s not the true cost but the district is allowed to advertise that amount.
There is no transparency in bond issue advertising in Kansas.
The estimated cost is required by law to be published in the Leavenworth Times at least 21 days prior to the election. Get out your magnifying glass to look for it in the fine print: classified section, page B8, May 4.
Here are figures from the notice paragraphs:
- Project costs: $36,760,000
- Interest projection: $23,909,800
That makes a total bond cost of $60,669,800.
Projected average annual payment is $1,470,400 based upon a 20-year term. The projected payments total $29,408,000 which is less than half of the necessary payback. Either the state is paying almost 52 percent of the cost, with our taxes, or we are not getting the whole story. Which is it? Note that project costs “will be paid for from all legally available funds.”
Then there is paragraph four which projects the amount of $545,000 in expenses including attorney, underwriter and financial adviser fees and printing costs for advertising yard signs and mail-outs for the bond, a plan to charge us for the cost of campaigning to take our earnings.
How about putting security ahead of building “renovations,” “additions” and “racial balance” by starting at the upper grades where most school murders occur? How about using some of the $6.9 million in our pot of carryover cash reserves for this instead of 10.506 mills of property tax?