Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

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October 29, 2013

Peru schools considers $8 million loan

Bonds would pay for building projects, new football fields.

PERU — Peru Community Schools wants to borrow nearly $8 million in bonding to pay for a slew of building projects, including safety and technology upgrades, roof repairs and constructing new football and soccer fields.

The bonds would pay for projects at all five Peru schools, as well as the administrative center and sports stadium.

The money also would pay for half of the construction costs of two new soccer fields and two new football fields on 13 acres, donated in January to the district by Russell Bellar, owner of Bellar Construction Management.

The land is located in the open floodplain area just north and east of Roxy Lane, on the city’s north side.

About $3 million of the bonds would go toward roof repairs. Other projects include building a handicapped-accessible path at the stadium, installing security cameras at the schools and upgrading technology hardware.

Stanley Hall, director of finance and operations, said the bonds are necessary to pay for the projects because the district anticipates losing more than a third of its funding next year for building projects due to state caps on property taxes.

“We’re one of those schools that’s taking a big hit from the tax caps,” he said.

The Peru School Board earlier this month made an initial vote to consider the bonds, but will make the official vote to move forward during its November meeting.

If the bonds are approved, property owners will see an increase in taxes. Rates will increase by 5.6 cents next year, and jump another 13.7 cents in 2015. That means a homeowner with a $75,000 house will pay an additional $17.30 in 2015.

With interest, the district will pay in total $10.75 million for the bonds, with the last payment scheduled for 2026.

If the board approves the bond, the district would borrow two $2 million bonds in December, and two more $2 million bonds in 2014.

Carson Gerber can be reached at 765-854-6739, or at carson.gerber@kokomotribune.com.

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