Manasquan, Pinelands Regional school referendums pass

By Katie Park and Austin Bogues Asbury Park Press Jan. 24, 2017

Two special school referendums passed Tuesday night after voters decided to pay more for school building renovations, add technological equipment and generally upgrade campuses.

Manasquan voters approved a $12.5 million plan that would replace the HVAC system and fire alarm setup at the elementary and high schools and add a STEM lab and new equipment for the television studio at the high school.

Referendum YES

Design for both school districts was by Garrison Architects of Bellmawr.

This is the first time voters have voted in favor of improving the infrastructure at the elementary and high school — two other referendums failed twice before.

"We're very excited," Tom Pellegrino, president of the Manasquan Board of Education, told the Press shortly after he discovered the referendum passed. "It's a great day."

The district will receive around $3.7 million in state debt assistance since voters approved the borrowing.

To pay off the assistance debt, homeowners will pay a tax increase proportional to their house value. A homeowner with a home assessed at $600,000 would pay around $5.58 more in taxes for 2018. But in 2019, the same homeowner would pay $2.76.

"With the benefit of the retiring debt combined with the new debt, the average tax rate will actual be reduced over the life of the bond," according to a website that answered voters' questions about the referendum. To calculate what the referendum plan would mean for your home, click here.

In Ocean County, Pinelands Regional voters voted in favor of three questions that would use $53.6 million to implement construction improvements at the junior and senior high schools. State dollars would fund 40 percent of the renovations.

In the first ballot question, voters polled 57.31 percent in favor of using $46.8 million of the $53.6 million to replace the deteriorating roof and brick structures, as well as installing a new HVAC system, according to the school district. The money will also go toward making interior repairs and upgrading electrical, security and communication upgrades.

Nearly 55 percent of voters were in favor of the second question that proposed using $4.8 million for new entrances and bus pickups. About 53 percent were in favor of using $1.9 million for installing a new stormwater management system and a grass field at the senior high school.

Like Manasquan, homeowners will pay higher taxes to fund the project. The owner of a $221,017 Bass River home would likely pay an average tax increase of $119.

 

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