By Mike Linn
Voters decide Tuesday if they are willing to embrace a tax hike that will help fund a vast overhaul of Dora schools.
If passed, an additional $850,000 in taxes will be collected over the next 12 years from property owners in the Dora school district — which also encompasses the communities of Milnesand, Pep, Causey and Rogers.
The rest of the money to fund the $7 million project would come from the State Department of Education Deficiencies Correction Unit and the Public School Capitol Outlay Council, according to Dora Schools Superintendent Jim Reed.
Reed said the schools are not up to code in several key areas including plumbing, safety and electricity.
“The electricity and heating system were done in 1964, and think of all the different technologies we have now we didn’t have then,” Reed said. “It must have been magnificent technology for them, but it’s just impossible to work on now.”
The work would also include the construction of a new library and more space in the science building, Reed said.
Most in the community agree the school needs refurbishing, Reed said, but since Dora hasn’t carried a bond in over 30 years, the tax increase can be somewhat high for some property owners.
Owners of property valued at $120,000 would pay an additional $205 annually for the next 12 years, and higher tax rates would be levied to owners of livestock.
Cattle owners now pay $2.52 annually per head, a rate that will increase to $3.09 annually if the bond is passed. At the same token, bull owners would see their $4.95 annual tax per bull raise to $6.09 a year.
Roosevelt County Commissioner Tom Clark is one of the livestock owners concerned about the tax increase.
“I can’t afford it,” said Clark, a farmer/rancher who lives in Rogers. “I support the school at Dora; I think we need to do some things at Dora to extend the life of the buildings there. But I don’t think the cattle and dairy industry can stand this sort of an increase.”
But for Dora school math teacher Dorothy Gresham the changes are a necessity.
“The taxes don’t bother me because I think we need a good school system,” she said.