Work with us
Partly Cloudy,65°
Sunday, May 29, 2016
Support Bellmore-Merrick Central District's $49.89 million
(Page 2 of 3)
Scott Brinton/Herald Life
The bathroom in the Mepham High School football locker room.

And then there are the grass athletic fields, which are torn up because of overuse. Athletes’ parents have complained for years about the condition of the fields. School officials say they only get worse from year to year.

The Board of Education and DeTommaso have proposed replacing the grass with synthetic turf, at a cost of $7.5 million. The proposal has stirred controversy, as it has in other districts. Some say synthetic turf costs too much. Others say it’s potentially dangerous.

In the past, the Herald Life has opposed synthetic-turf fields, primarily because of cost –– and because the district had so many other facilities needs, namely new science labs and music suites. It would have been a terrible shame to spend millions on synthetic turf while academic facilities languished. Moreover, financing turf fields through the district’s annual budget would have caused an unacceptably high property-tax spike — as high as 9 percent in a given year.

The district’s current bond proposal, however, would not force an insupportable choice between academic and athletic facilities, and it would spread the cost of the turf fields over the 15-year life of the bond, meaning that property taxes would not spike in any given year.

Times are still tough, and DeTommaso and the Board of Education understand the economic hardships people face these days. They would not seek public support for a bond that they did not believe was truly needed. Having toured the schools, we can say with certainty that it is.

If it is passed, local property taxes would increase by $104 per year, or $8.67 per month. That would be a sound investment. With interest rates still low, the time to bond is now. Many contractors, still reeling from the Great Recession, need work, so construction costs are lower than they likely will be when the economy fully recovers. Additionally, the district would save hundreds of thousands of dollars annually by incorporating new energy-efficient technologies into its schools –– technologies that would pay for themselves and then some over the years. On top of it all, New York state would pay a little more than half of the bond cost –– $26.89 million.


2 comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Please log in or register to add your comment

Voting takes place at elementary school districts within the BMCSHD. Does anyone know why voting in N. Bellmore, Bellmore, and Merick all start between 6-7am but N. Merrick does not open for voting until 2pm?

Tuesday, November 26, 2013 | Report this

The interior improvements cost $18M. Why are they asking for nearly $50M? Yes, the state will pay for 53%. The state has over 20M people. I would guess Bellmore/Merrick has less than 75,000 people. Did you know there are only 6,000 students in the district according to Wikipedia. I received something in the mail stating that all of these improvements will save nearly $2M a year in operating costs. Sounds great. If they are talking about a 15-18 year bond, then shouldn't this pay for itself? I understand you still have to pay upfront, but shouldn't that mean the district doesn't need to raise their budget by 3-6% for the next 15-18 years. Why hasn't anyone committed to that? It is because they plan on taking the savings and spending it somewhere else. Other places in the country do not pay $10,000 a year in taxes on a $400,000 home. The schools are just as good.

Here is my question which I cannot find an answer for; how is the state aid determined? Is it 53% of the project total or is it $26M. Every business when deciding to spend money comes up with a number of alternatives. How much would the state pay if we did just the interior improvements?

Thursday, November 28, 2013 | Report this
Terms of Use | Advertising | Careers | Contact Us | Community Links © 2016 Richner Communications, Inc.