Board eyes project vote

FONDA – The Fonda-Fultonville Central School District Board of Education is looking at a possible November or December date for a vote on a capital project.

The new capital project would cost around $19.4 million. Officials said an architectural firm agreed to cut $400,000 off its fee to keep everything in the project, but keep it under budget.

A $19.8 million capital project was voted down by a slim margin in May. The project needed 60 percent voter approval, but received 58.5 percent. The district was expecting the state to pay for up to 90 percent of the project cost.

The district needed 60 percent of the voters to support the project because part of the district includes a small portion of the city of Johnstown. Small cities need a higher percentage of voter approval because the district went above the debt ceiling of $17.5 million for the project, officials said.

The project included items such as upgrading fire-alarm systems, adding climate control to classrooms, increasing computer bandwidth, repairing roofs and replacing grandstand seating.

In June, the board discussed another possibility of splitting the vote in two. The initial idea was to present an $18.2 million project and a separate $1.2 million sports field vote.

Board member Mary Frollo said the board has not yet made a decision on doing that.

Fiscal Advisor Ben Maslona said if the project is successful with a late 2014 vote date, it would go to heavy construction in the spring of 2016.

Changes in the timeline allowed the district to borrow more money without needing the supermajority of 60 percent.

When the vote failed, the timeline of the project changed. The finishing date moved from 2017 to 2018, which meant that new tax numbers changed the debt ceiling, officials said. The new debt ceiling of about $19.7 million will allow the district to no longer need a supermajority for the new plan.

“We owe less money and are going out to spend less money,” Superintendent Raymond Colucciello said.

The district’s public information committee will next meet Aug. 26 at 6 p.m. in the multi-purpose room. The public is welcome to attend and speak at the meeting. The next board meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Aug. 25.