Residents:Be ready to give opinion at hearing
When the community gathers for the 1028 preliminary determination hearing on Feb. 18, they can expect a similar format to the community input meetings previously held by the Clay Community Schools Board of Trustees.
Jeff Qualkinbush of Barnes and Thornburg law firm, Indianapolis, has been counseling the school board through the process of putting the proposed renovation plan together.
Qualkinbush said, because of the previous community meetings, an abbreviated presentation of the project will be presented at the hearing.
After the presentation, citizens will have the chance to voice their opinion. Those wishing to speak will be asked to sign in as they come into North Clay Middle School, but if others decide to speak during the session, they may address the board after those who signed in.
The board will consider the opinions heard, and after closing the public hearing, will vote on a resolution to move forward with the project and financing.
Qualkinbush is putting the resolution together, comprised of the recommendations from the building committees, a history of how the project developed, the maximum amount of money will be paid and the maximum length of time for the money to be repaid.
The resolution will also give permission for the board to repay the Capital Projects Fund for fees paid before the bond is issued.
If the board chooses to move forward with the project, the resolution will be published in the media within a week.
Once the notice is published, the public will have a 30-day period where a petition can be circulated to request a petition remonstrance. If enough signatures are collected, the board would publish a second notice, and a 60-day petition period would begin.
Both those for and against the project will be able to circulate petitions for the last 31 days of the 60-day period, and whichever petition has the most signatures from registered voters will win the remonstrance.
If there is a petition remonstrance, it could take until April before it carries out, and nothing could be done either way until June.
Qualkinbush said that is the reason why the board has been receptive to community input.
The petition remonstrance would push the project back, which would force the corporation to pay capitalized interest (between $800,000-$900,000) out of bond money instead of the tax levy when old bonds are finished in 2009.
Then portions of the project would need to be cut out to pay for the interest.
The resolution will not specify how much is to be spent on each building to safeguard against building cost flux and bid variations.
"What today they may think is a high priority and has a dollar amount associated with it may be a lower priority because of dollar amount association down the road," Qualkinbush said. "We'll let the project address that as the bids come back."
The board will also be updated on costs and designs as the project progresses.
Qualkinbush also said he will be working with the board and the community as the project progresses to answer questions and work through any legal issues.
The 1028 hearing will start at 6 p.m., at North Clay Middle School.