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Tax impact of CVTC referendum reduced

The impact of Chippewa Valley Technical College’s referendum will not be as large as projected when the measure was presented to voters, who overwhelming supported the projects in April.

On Thursday, Oct. 22, the CVTC Board of Trustees certified a 2020 property tax levy that will result in an average increase in the property taxes on $100,000 of equalized property value of $8.55, much less than the $13 projected when CVTC informed voters of the potential tax impact.

Voters approved the $48.8 million referendum by a 62 to 38 percent margin, with voters in all 11 counties in the CVTC district supporting it. The first of the referendum projects designed to meet the region’s current and future workforce needs will break ground in November as CVTC begins an expansion of the Manufacturing Education Center.

In the coming year, CVTC will proceed with construction of a Transportation Education Center and an addition and remodeling of the Emergency Service Education Center. Purchase of land adjacent to the River Falls Campus has already been completed. Also included in the referendum were remodeling at the Menomonie Campus, science labs at the Chippewa Falls and River Falls campuses, and development of mobile labs.

“We are grateful for the support of the voters, who recognized that education is vital to the economic health of the region throughout various stages of the economy,” said Bruce Barker, president of CVTC. “We are dedicated to our mission to provide applied education that leads to quality of life, satisfying careers and a productive workforce. The voters’ approval will enable us to better meet the needs of the area.”

The CVTC board is required to certify its levy by Oct. 31. The board approved a levy of $25.27 million. The previous levy, for 2019-20, was for $21.53 million. The increase is mostly due to the referendum projects approved by voters, according to Kirk Moist, CVTC vice president of finance and facilities.

Projects are slated to be completed over three years; however, most of the borrowing for the referendum projects will take place during the upcoming budget year.

“We are in a time of historically low interest rates for tax exempt borrowers,” Moist said, explaining the lower tax impact. “The first sale of bonds related to the referendum was for $7.4 million amortized over 10 years, at a 1.338 percent rate, very low for CVTC debt.”

Moist added that the next bond issue will be for almost $39 million amortized over 20 years. Because of the longer term, the rate is expected to be more than the first sale, but still lower than original projections.

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