My Northern Wisconsin

Covering Ashland, Iron, Lincoln, Oneida, Price, Rusk, Sawyer, Taylor, and Vilas Counties



At a recent Board of Supervisors meeting, County Administrator Nick Trimner discussed a FEMA grant of about $3.9 million for a community emergency shelter.  He stated the cost of the entire project would be about $5.2 million.  There would be a 10% local match plus the cost of any non-project approved costs.  It was stated that up to $40,000 would be allocated from the county's ARPA funds.

This FEMA grant has also been discussed at board meetings for the School District of Phillips.  On  December 18, 2023, the board made a resolution authorizing borrowing up to $1.7 million and providing the issuance and sale of general obligation promissory notes for the emergency shelter to be added on at the elementary school.

Some residents became concerned about if this funding was for the prior elementary school or the current one, if the borrowing of more money would affect their taxes, and what type of structure was proposed to be built.

My Price County spoke with Superintendent Rachel Hoffman to get answers for the community.  She said the school district applied for a FEMA grant in January 2023.  The school is currently in the review process for the grant, but it does look promising that they will receive the grant.  The school district should know if the grant has been awarded by Spring 2024. 

The building that will be added onto, if the grant is awarded, is the current elementary school and not the old one (which is now the Early Learning Center).  Superintendent Hoffman stated, "What was applied for is to build a new multi-purpose facility, like a gym space, at the current elementary school so what people think of as the old middle school.  We're not looking to do anything at what we now refer to as the Early Learning Center (old district office).  That is not a part of this at all."

The superintendent stated this will not affect anyone's taxes.  She explained there are two ways the school can get money, which is going to referendum or using Fund 38 debt that the district can take on.  To incur the debt, the school has to make sure it is in their budget so they can pay back the loan.  "Fund 38 does not affect the taxes at all....We cannot raise people's taxes to pay that fund back," she said.

The school district previously used Fund 38 to get LED lighting throughout the district.  Those payments will be done in about 12 to 18 months, so the superintendent felt this was perfect timing.

"The design process for an architect is about five months, and we only have two years once we get the grant to finish the whole project, so we wanted to have the money available right away just in case we are awarded the grant, and then we can start right away," Superintendent Hoffman said.  According to her, from last year's estimate, the architect fee will be about $300,000.

Residents also asked about a getting a petition together if they opposed the resolution.  The notice does state that "Section 67.12(12)(e)2, Wisconsin Statutes provides in part that a referendum is required on the question of this borrowing only if a petition is filed within 30 days after this publication signed by at least 7,500 district electors or 20% of the district electors voting for governor at the last general election, whichever is the lesser. If no such petition is filed, then the resolution shall be effective without a referendum."

(Article continues after promotional message)

[Image: deercreekangus.jpg]
Deer Creek Angus, LLC has a large selection of Black Angus burgers, steaks, roasts, and other beef products sold by individual packages and in quarters, halves, and whole.  Contact Deer Creek Angus, LLC at 715-550-6156, find products & pricing on their website, and follow their Facebook page.

If a valid petition is presented, it would go to a referendum.  "That would impact their taxes.  So the way it is right now, there isn't going to be an impact on their taxes," Superintendent Hoffman explained.  She said the tax levy has already been set and cannot be changed.

If the district does not get approved for the FEMA grant, then the district would return the money and not use it.  "There is no pre-payment penalty," Superintendent Hoffman said.

Copies of the resolution can be obtained from the district office.  The superintendent stated she is also willing to answer anyone's additional questions.

There is a school board meeting on January 15, 2024 at 6 p.m. in the Performing Arts Center at the school.

If you have a question or comment about the community, story that you want to tell, or a news tip, send it to us at this link.

You can share this on Facebook at this link.

[Image: davettelynnehrabakcpa.jpg]
Tax season is here!  Davette Lynne Hrabak, CPA, located at 164 South Lake Avenue in Phillips, specializes in tax return preparation, business start-up services, consulting, bookkeeping, payroll, and all your accounting needs.  Call 715-339-6638 or visit Davette's website.  Follow her Facebook page.
(This post was last modified: 01-09-2024, 03:40 PM by My Northern Wisconsin.)