On Tuesday, over 80 percent of Windham-Ashland-Jewett voters (213 yes to 50 no) passed the referendum authorizing the WAJ Board of Education the ability to borrow funds up to nearly $4 million dollars for expenses from Irene's flood damage. The borrowing from the fund will be used to bridge the gap between when bills are due and when state and FEMA reimbursements are received, which could be years. All reimbursements will be immediately used to pay back the debt.
The advantage for taxpayers is the tax levy impact will be much less by spreading the cost over time. Without borrowing, and because of the gap between expenses and reimbursements, WAJ could be forced to add up to $4 million to next year's school budget. It also gives the town more time to leverage appeals on reimbursements, possibly leading to reducing the town's tax levy even further.
Below is a statement of thanks from the WAJ Central School:
Thank you WAJ Voters
On November 22, 2011, by a margin of 213 YES to 50 NO, WAJ voters passed a voter proposition authorizing the district to borrow funds to pay for tropical storm Irene recovery expenses and to bridge the cash flow gap between paying current expenses and waiting for FEMA and state reimbursement payments to arrive in the future. A rapid recovery has allowed students to return back to school and focus on learning in the rigorous and caring atmosphere that has come to define our school. To reduce the direct tax impact on taxpayers in the short term, WAJ intends to borrow only what is needed. The entire WAJ school community is very appreciative of the voters’ strong, ongoing support of the district’s efforts.