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Ticknor: Theater venue a value to community

Published: Thursday, July 31, 2014 3:08 p.m. CST
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(Photo provided)
Mary Ticknor

Last weekend, hundreds of people attended Little Mountain Community Theatre’s debut production, “The Wizard of Oz.” The show was very entertaining and brought together people – including the actors, musicians, crew, and the audience itself – from a variety of surrounding communities to Lemont High School’s Performing Arts Center. This 850-plus seat venue truly belongs to the community. Since opening in spring 2008, it has played host to a range of events, ranging from concerts to park district events to Lemont High School theater and music productions.

Lemont High School District 210 only was able to construct this beautiful facility with the support of our local community, which approved a referendum in Spring 2006 to improve and expand our facilities for academics, athletics and the arts.

Through advance refunding, District 210’s administration and Board of Education soon will take steps to restructure the bonds that were used to build the Performing Arts Center and other facilities. This, coupled with additional actions in future years, will help ensure taxpayers contribute only what was initially expected of them when the referendum was approved in 2006. With the district’s Equalized Assessed Valuation decreasing by approximately 25 percent over the last few years, its bond and interest tax rate has increased. Without the Board of Education’s restructuring efforts, the district’s Bond and Interest tax rate was projected to increase by 50 percent within the next 10 years.

To help make sure that this restructuring had the most positive effect for taxpayers, the district plans to contribute a little more than $1 million that had accumulated over time in its Debt Service Fund. This contribution will reduce future tax levies by more than $1.4 million over the next 15 years, and also will limit the debt extension increase to approximately 2.2 percent annually. So how will this affect the “typical taxpayer?” In 2006, the owner of a house valued at approximately $283,000 was predicted to contribute around $7,700 over the life of the bonds. After the Board of Education’s restructuring effort, that same taxpayer actually is expected to pay less than originally predicted – a little under $7,300 – over the life of the bonds, and the debt will be spread out over three additional years.

Hopefully the next time you visit campus – whether to attend a football game or take in a show at the Performing Arts Center – you can enjoy it a little more knowing that you likely will pay less than was originally anticipated for these state-of-the-art facilities!

Mary Ticknor is superintendent for Lemont High School District 210.

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