The City of Germantown's Finance Advisory Committee has recommended the City amend its budget and pass a resolution for bonds to be issued to finance $12M of capital improvements for GMSD. Originally, the school district believed that the Riverdale addition would require $10M leaving $2M for a new athletic facility at HHS. But more recent information indicates that even with cut-backs, the Riverdale project will likely consume the entire $12M. There will be 3 readings before the Mayor and Board of Aldermen with the last reading being on October 26. If passed, the money would be available late January 2016.
The only contingency is that GMSD would have to chip in on the debt service making payments of $300K annually for 30 years. Mr. Lawton told the board that this was the largest bond amount ever for the City and debt service by GMSD was needed to avoid an increase in city property taxes at this time. Mr. Lawton reminded school board members that the City was paying the cost of the buildings from SCS when other muni districts were paying those cost from their school budgets. He also said that in the next few years when the new school is expected to be built, the City would have time to plan for its financing and would not need to ask GMSD to contribute to debt service.
Some discussion occurred regarding whether the board should take on a 30 year obligation for debt service. The total cost is expected to be approximately $5M. Mark Dely asked if the money could be paid off earlier or if they could renegotiate the contract with the City. Mr. Lawton said bond examiners might frown on having contingencies in the contract. Ken Hoover asked if there was an estimate on Riverdale's costs. Stewart Smith said it would be $9.1M plus FF&E (that means fully furnished and equipped). So, Mr. Hoover then asked if it was prudent to borrow the entire $12M? Josh Cathey said that if there was any money left over then Dogwood could use a few portables to relieve overcrowding until the new school was built.
Mark Dely began the discussion by asking "why wouldn't we videotape our meetings?" Mr. Manuel said that the business meetings are taped when the board meets at City Hall but the district has no way of taping meetings that occur in the district offices or in schools.
Natalie Williams said that she conferred with TSBA and according to TSBA, GMSD goes above and beyond what is required by law. She said that TSBA recommended against having a citizen videotape the meetings. It would leave the board with no control over editing or the quality of the recordings. Ms. Williams went on to say that if the board met more at City Hall then this would not be a problem for videoing business meetings. But she saw no reason to video work sessions.
Mr. Hoover disagreed saying there is lots of stuff discussed at work sessions. He felt like the board should record its meetings and work sessions then provide the public access to the recordings. Mr. Manuel wanted to know who was going to pay for the costs of recording. Mr. Hoover responded that GHS students recorded the City's meetings for $3K or $4K per year. And said, it sends a bad message to reject Ms. Haun's request.
Natalie Williams went on record saying she does not support videoing work sessions. Mr. Dely asked, "why wouldn't we record all of our meetings to show transparency and build rapport with the community?" Then Mr. Hoover asked if we had portable cameras to bring to the GMSD office and school locations. Mr. Manuel said no. Mr. Cathey said there was a current bid out for about $200K worth of new camera equipment for the HHS TV station.
Then Ms. Parker said "OUR" work sessions and retreats are not for broadcasting to the public. This isn't a dog and pony show. She went on to say that she was sure people were taping the work session right now without the permission of the board. When Mr. Dely asked her about transparency, she said she had only gotten one request and if she had gotten 200 requests then she might think GMSD wasn't being transparent. Linda Fisher also contributed to the discussion but she was inaudible. Ms. Parker ended discussion by saying she would put the matter on the agenda for a vote.
Start Time Committees
Next Meeting will be at Riverdale on September 23.