5-cent tax hike would cover debt for new Hardy Elementary

Published 4:22 pm Tuesday, May 7, 2019

By Diana McFarland

Managing editor

 A five-cent real estate tax increase would cover the debt service on a new Hardy Elementary School, according to Isle of Wight County Administrator Randy Keaton.

The increase would generate about $2.4 million, enough to cover the debt payments on $32-$34 million — the current estimated cost of a new school. 

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Keaton provided the numbers during a recent discussion on the county’s capital budget. {mprestriction ids=”1,2,3,4,5,6″}

The Board of Supervisors is weighing the pros and cons of either renovating the nearly 60-year-old Hardy Elementary or building a new school. Following on Hardy’s heels is the needed renovation of Westside Elementary School. The two schools are the oldest in the county. 

Some of the most talked about concerns at Hardy are overflowing toilets, overcrowded classes, drainage problems, an outdated air-conditioning system, lack of municipal water and sewer, as well as a fire sprinkler system, a too-small gym, and a lack of air-conditioning in the school’s kitchen, among others. 

The Board is also considering hiring a third party engineering firm to do an evaluation of the school building and assess the pros and cons of renovation versus rebuilding Hardy elementary. 

While the county’s 2020 capital budget includes $950,000 for Hardy Elementary school to begin either process, money for the third party engineering firm — if hired — would likely come out of this fiscal year’s budget, said Isle of Wight Assistant County Administrator Don Robertson. 

Board Chairman William McCarty said the Board did not want to hit the “pause button” on Hardy for another four years. 

Keaton told the Board that it would likely take a year for design and another two years for construction. 

The real estate tax rate is currently 85-cents per $100 in value. The Board is already considering the equivalent of a 2.7-cent tax increase by keeping the additional revenue generated by the recent property reassessment.  {/mprestriction}