By Chris Edwards
WOODVILLE – In an effort to save taxpayers money and to help with up-front costs on projects, Woodville ISD is seeking approval to refinance its existing tax maintenance notes.
The existing bond of $2,355,000 was issued in 2018 to pay the up-front costs of the renovations to the Woodville High School campus HVAC system and its roof.
The conditions of the possible refinancing will reduce the length the district has to pay out the remaining notes by nine years, and will save almost $345,000 in interest costs, according to WISD Superintendent Lisa Meysembourg and Assistant Superintendent/Director of Finance Cody Jarrott.
“It’s not just that we save taxpayers that money, but that we can pay it off in four years,” Meysembourg said.
If it passes, the refinancing of the tax maintenance notes will reduce the length of the note from 13 years (without refinancing) to four, if approved by the taxpayers.
The go ahead to pursue the refinance was given by the WISD Board of Trustees at a recent special meeting, and the possibility has been the topic of discussion at regular board meetings as of late.
“The main reason is the interest savings to the taxpayer,” Jarrott said. Currently the district is paying 3% and higher interest rates. With refinancing, that rate could drop to 2% or lower, depending on the market.
With the proposal, the school property tax rate will not increase, if it is approved by the voters. The rate will remain the same as the prior year, which is $1.085 per $100 of taxable property ($0.97 for M&O and $0.115 for I&S.) Meysembourg said, however, that the rate could possibly decrease due to the tax reduction efforts made by the Texas Legislature.
Meysembourg wanted voters to know that ballot language and legal requirements will require that a statement be printed on the ballot that the proposal will result in a tax rate increase but said that is not the case with WISD’s proposal.
According to figures presented by Meysembourg and Jarrott, if the proposal is voted down, the total principal and interest paid by the district will amount to $2,591,568, over a course of 13 years. With the refinance, the period of payment would be abbreviated to four years, with payment complete in 2024 to the tune of $2,247,825, with projected savings of at least $343,743.
Meysembourg said that she plans to host a series of informal meetings with taxpayers in the district to answer any questions they might have.
Election day for the chance for voters to vote yes or no to the proposal is on May 2, with early voting on April 20-24 and 27-28.