Albany resident Tom Cordier has filed a second complaint with state officials about a bond measure for Greater Albany Public Schools, this one alleging misleading information in the explanatory statement.
In his complaint, filed April 2 with the Oregon Secretary of State Office, Cordier said he believes there is a problem within the passage titled, "What would the Bond cost?"
The passage states a successful bond would cost property taxpayers an estimated $2.35 per thousand, which "represents an initial increase of 64 cents per thousand dollars of assessed value" above what residents are paying on the expiring school bond.
Cordier said he believes the 64-cent statement is "inaccurate, misleading and false" because tax rates change. If the school district had taken the average property tax rate for the past nine years as its base, which Cordier calculated in his complaint as $1.58, the actual increase to get to $2.35 would be 77 cents.
The state has not yet responded to Cordier's complaint, nor yet to a complaint he filed March 13 alleging electioneering by the superintendent.
Voters last approved a bond measure for GAPS in November 2006. Members of the GAPS board of directors have been contemplating and working toward a new bond since late 2014. A new District Facilities Advisory Committee began meeting in January 2016.
In October 2016, Carol Samuels, managing director of Piper Jaffray, gave a report to the Albany School Board stating the district could collect about $84 million if it continued the tax rate of the last measure for another decade. At that meeting, Samuels gave the rate of the last bond at about $1.71 per $1,000 of assessed value, which is the number GAPS has been using to calculate the 64-cent increase.
It's true that tax rates change from year to year and likely won't be the same even by the time voters decide the bond, said Russ Allen, director of business for the school district.
The actual cost of a bond is always an estimate based on the current tax base, increases or decreases in assessed value and the interest rates at the time of bond sale, Allen said. He said the district "has employed an experienced firm in providing estimates" and that this estimate was based on an average of three of the last four years of the previous bond because the last year was much lower than the three before.
In his earlier complaint, Cordier cited a Democrat-Herald story about a study that indicated a handful of new jobs might be generated by construction of new auditoriums and/or gyms as part of the district's $159 million bond measure.
In the story, Superintendent Jim Golden was quoted as saying, "The study makes the case that those assets are a bonus for the community, both because we don't have as many as other communities our size and (because) there is some economic benefits."
Golden has said he was summarizing the study's conclusions, while Cordier contends he was advocating for the bond.