It will mean an increased tax bill, according to Finance Director Patty Schaffer, of $108 for the average homeowner, paid per year until 2044.
That estimate is based on the 4 percent interest rate, but the city has an AA1 bond rating and recently borrowed at 2 percent, which opens the possibility that the actual cost might be lower than projected. “It puts us into a position to get a very low interest rate on the bond,” noted Mayor Ted Bettencourt during the meeting.
Schaffer told councilors the city will be in the curious condition of deciding if it should borrow the money now, before it’s needed, in order to take advantage of historically low interest rates, rates that could begin to rise again at any time.
“We don’t want to miss an opportunity,” she told the board.
“The stars are aligned to make this happen,” commented Councilor Dave Gravel.
The overall cost of construction has risen from an earlier estimate of up to $89.6 million to $92.6 due to evaluations of the site.
The City Council is expected to take the final vote approving the project on Thursday. According to a timeline distributed to the council, construction would begin in June 2014, with the school ready for occupancy in September 2016. The demolition of the older building would start around the same time.
The designers are promising to hold meetings with area residents to discuss ways to alleviate problems stemming from the construction.
“Everything we’re doing,” said DiNisco, “is to ensure that this is a good neighbor.”