Pocahontas School Superintendent Discusses Proposed School Levy
At the end of last week, we sat down with Pocahontas County School superintendent, Terrence Beam, who delivered his Superintendent’s radio report about what’s happening with the proposed school Levy. Mr. Beam.
“I want to take a few minutes to update us on where we are with our levy” said Mr. Beam. “We have had 3 or 4 meetings now with our Levy Committee. We’ve had one meeting with our Architects. They’re going to give us some updated floor plans. The first meeting we had with them, they presented us with some preliminary floor plans, which we looked at and made our recommendations and alterations to it, and so they are updating those. One of the things this past week that we talked about (was) developing a flyer to get out to the citizens of Pocahontas County.
One of the main concerns that people obviously have is how much is it going to cost each individual tax payer. Well, on this flyer, we are going to create a table. It will have some general numbers – so if your house is valued at $100.000 or $75,000, or $50,000 or $20,000 or whatever, there will be figures on their showing you how much your taxes will increase. If your property falls in between two of the amounts that’s quoted, than obviously you can estimate.
An individual came into our office this week and wanted to sit down and look at the taxes. After he had his taxes figured, he said ‘I’m on board’. He saw that the tax increase was going to be very slight. And we invite people to come in anytime Sherry is available here every day. She is more than willing to sit down with you and your tax statement and show you what increase it will be. And then you can make the decision about whether this project is worth spending that extra money or not.
But we are going to come up with some basic facts to put on this flyer. And like I mentioned, we are going to have a tax table on there. We’ll have some bulleted items to make it just as simple as we can. And we will have listed on there the total amount of money that’s going to be spent to renovate the schools. I‘ve had a lot of questions asked of me –‘well can you make changes to this plan?’ Well, we can’t change the main part of the program. What you can change is the floor plan. If we decide as a school system that we need things done that’s not in the original plan but stays within the budget, then we can do those types of things, and we’ve already that in one instance at Green Bank. The overall plan and the configuration of the plan cannot be changed.
We’re going to be having community meetings –I had a phone call from Hillsboro Community the other day about meeting with them, and well do the same thing in all the communities. I know that people are concerned about this money if it is generated would not be spent like it was said it was going to be spent on. It’s totally illegal to spend one penny of that money on anything other then what the Levy Call said. And the SBA monitors that very closely. They don’t just hand you a check for 11 ½ -12 million dollars and say ‘here you go’. And they have someone on their staff who will be assigned to our project and they will ensure that money is spent correctly. That is a fear that is out there, but I assure you it’s unfounded. There is no way that money will be spent on anything other than the facilities.
I ran into one of our employees the other day, and she was adamantly against the levy, and I said ‘well come to one of our meetings and see what you think’ and she did come. Have we won her over 100%? No, not yet, but she did share with me that she is a lot closer to it because she now understands it a lot more. And she asked ‘why haven’t gotten more of this information out to the public?’ And it’s very simple, we want to make sure that when we get this out to the public it is finalized and it is accurate. That’s why we’ve waited as long as we have. But we will be gearing this thing up in September and October and we will be having various meetings throughout our communities. And if there is any group out there who wants us to come and present to them we will do that, and it will not just be me. I will bring members of the (Levy) Committee with me. I’ve really encouraged them to take a leadership part of this and be the face of this project to get this Levy passed, because the community will respond better to people they’ve known all their lives and they work with or see on the streets every day. Thanks a lot and I hope to talk with you again soon.”