BLOOMINGDALE - Placement of a 1-mill operating levy on the ballot in May was discussed during Tuesday's Jefferson County Joint Vocational school board meeting.
The board voted to place the levy on the May 7 ballot during the special election, with some changes made from previous language for the proposal, according to Dale Edwards, district superintendent.
"We wanted to be sensitive to what people were saying about the levy (proposal)," said Edwards, adding one change would be reducing the length of the operating levy from 10 years to seven years.
The levy proposal has been turned down by district voters in the past as recently as November. Then, according to tallies posted on the Jefferson County Board of Elections website, the measure failed by 246 votes, with a total of 15,901 against the levy and 15,655 in favor. A small number of those votes were cast by voters in the Harrisville area in Harrison County, which also is served by the JVS.
Edwards said the board discussed and decided to reduce the number of years for the levy renewal proposal after hearing concern from voters the levy's length of time for possible renewal was too long.
Edwards said the additional revenue is needed for building improvements, equipment and other operational expenses. Improvements also needed include the building's fire alarm system and security upgrades, according to board members.
The board also passed an emergency resolution during the meeting to immediately make repairs to the fire alarm system, said Edwards.
"We were told it was extremely difficult to get parts for our fire alarm system," he said, adding the board adopted a resolution to have the SimplexGrinnell Co. make immediate repairs to the existing system for $7,700.
"They will be coming in during the Christmas break to make the repairs," Edwards said.
Edwards noted the alarm system needs replaced, but it would cost $92,000. He added the district can't afford to replace the system without additional revenue. He also said if it proves to be cost prohibitive to place the levy proposal before voters during the May election the district would wait until the November election.
Measures placed before voters during elections other than in November cost to open precincts, Edwards said. The board was going wait to see how much it would cost the district to do so and has until February to pull the proposal if it proves to be too expensive.
"We are once again trying to be prudent with our budget," said Edwards. "But it's so important we get this passed, we're not waiting until November."