May 17, 2022

USD 489 bond vote certified; temporary bonds issued

Posted May 17, 2022 11:01 AM

Hays Post

The Ellis County Commission, acting as the canvas board, certified the Hays USD 489 bond issue Monday night.

Both the bond issue and a half-cent city sales question to help pay for the bond were approved.

The final vote on the bond issue was 3,288 votes yes and 2,804 votes no. The final vote on the sales tax issue was 3,071 votes yes and 2,061 votes no.

Monday morning the canvas board voted to accept 64 provisional ballots. Ten ballots were rejected because the voters were not registered in Ellis County.

• There were 54 ballots accepted because of address changes.
• There were three ballots accepted because of address and name changes • There were four ballots accepted because of name changes.
• There was one ballot accepted because an advance mail ballot was lost.
• There was one ballot accepted because of poll worker error.
• There was one ballot accepted because Johnson County had pulled this voter from Ellis County in error so the name did not appear in the Ellis County poll books. Once election staff figured out the mistake, they pulled the person's registration back from the Johnson County rolls.

Temporary bonds

The Hays school board Monday night approved a resolution issuing $2 million in temporary bonds to be used for the bond projects. This will pay for aspects of the project over the next few months, including design.

The district's bond counsel Piper Sandler is estimating an 11.5 mill levy for the bond once the full bond amount is levied. That should appear on taxpayers' November bills.

The City of Hays half-cent sales tax will take effect on Oct. 1. The new tax will increase the city tax rate from 8.75 percent to 9.25 percent.

Dustin Avey, Piper Sandler managing director, said the growth of the sales tax has been estimated conservatively. He expects growth in sales tax revenue will result in the bond being paid off early.

Superintendent Ron Wilson thanked the Vote Yes Committee for their work to pass the $143.5 million bond. 

"What we accomplished with the Vote Yes Committee is going to be great for kids, staff and the community," Wilson said. "Nothing like this could have happened without such hard work, dedication, enthusiasm and positivity.  That sums up what the Vote Yes Committee is all about."

Board members also thanked the committee, as well as everyone who worked to pass the bond. They also thanked the Hays City Commission for its support of the sales tax.

Wilson said the district administration will begin discussions with architect DLR next week.

DLR will begin immediately on a site survey for the new high school, which will be built on property east of the current high school. That land is already owned by the school district.

Nabholz Construction, the district's construction manager at risk, will have an informational meeting with local suppliers and contractors in mid-June. The date and time for that meeting have not been set.

Wilson said the school board and the district's website will be continually updated throughout the bond process.