Manchester, Essex vote for new school Tuesday

Manchester and Essex voters will be asked to approve Proposition 2 1/2 debt exclusions to fund the building of a new elementary school, pictured, in Manchester for the Manchester Essex Regional School District.

In addition to the state election this Tuesday, Manchester and Essex voters will decide whether or not to approve a Proposition 2 1/2 debt exclusion to pay for the new Memorial Elementary School project.

The debt exclusion will allow the towns to temporarily increase property taxes above the state-mandated 2 1/2 percent ceiling.

According Manchester Town Administrator Greg Federspiel, Manchester will likely see a 6 1/2 increase for 30 years based on the assumed 5 percent interest rate for the project's bond. 

This means the average Manchester household will be expected to pay an extra $530 per year in property taxes, according to members of the Manchester Essex Regional School District. The estimated impact for taxpayers would be $72 per $100,000 of assessed value, based on fiscal 2019 rates.

For Essex, the average single-family taxpayer will experience a 6.55 percent increase in their tax bill for 30 years, according to Essex Town Administrator Brendhan Zubricki.

Average Essex households will most likely see an increase of $566 in property taxes per year. The estimated increase will be $105.40 for every $100,000 of assessed property value. For reference, Essex's 2018 fiscal year estimated tax rate is $16.07 per $1,000 of assessed property value.

Both towns will see a small increases in taxes as the project gets underway. The full hike will come after construction is finished, around two to three years from now, Federspiel estimated. 

The new school project is estimated to cost $52.2 million. The district will be reimbursed $12.2 million from the Massachusetts School Building Authority. Of the remaining amount, Manchester will be responsible $26.6 million and Essex will pay $13.3 million.

Town meetings in both towns previously voted to allow Manchester Essex Regional School District to borrow funds for the $52.2 million project. On Tuesday, voters in both towns must approve their respective school funding question for the project to go forward.

Michael Cronin may be contacted at 978-675-2708, or mcronin@gloucestertimes.com.

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