Remember the hotly debated school referendum that passed 9 months ago?
Back in November 2009, Whitefish Bay voted (in large numbers) to approve borrowing $22.9 million in bonds to finance school maintenance and improvements.
Further 2009 calculations estimated a 5.5% bond interest cost, and the loss of $5m in Wisconsin State Aid. Using this estimate, the Schools suggested passing the referendum questions would cost a $350k homeowner, about $248 per year.
Referendum opponents claimed the "true" cost of the referendum was a whopping $40 million.
Well, a funny thing happened on the way to the bank. While the District conservatively used a 5.5% interest cost in their calculations for the public .. it turns out the total rate is now estimated at an incredible 1.91%. --- And remember the possibility the School District could get some 0% interest loans? To be announced next week, the District should be receiving about a third of the total cost in 0% Qualified School Construction Bonds.
Oh, and total amount borrowed is less, too. Instead of $22.9m, the schools are projecting a cost of $20m due to lower construction costs. Net, net, instead of the $248/year 2009 estimate on your taxes, it should fall to about $175. Still a chunk of change, but about 30% less than originally estimated.
The 1.91% interest rate is really amazing, in light of April's credit rating downgrade.
So, good morning: The construction costs are lower than expected. The borrowing costs are far less than expected. That's outstanding.