Cape board approves May 21 referendum

District leaders revise debt service, current expense requests; pool complex eliminated
April 12, 2024

Two weeks after Cape district voters defeated a capital project and operating expense referendum by 661 votes, the school board convened April 11 to unanimously approve a Tuesday, May 21 referendum with revised tax rate impacts and the elimination of the originally proposed natatorium.

The district is seeking a $0.086 increase to the debt service tax rate to purchase a $15 million, 102-acre property along Cedar Grove Road upon which to build a $21 million district office and a $6 million transportation maintenance facility. 

For these improvements, the average homeowner would pay $24.09 a year, or $2.01 a month for the first year, and then the rate would decrease. In the defeated referendum, the proposed debt service tax rate increase of $0.214 would have translated to $60 a year, or $5 a month, with the swimming pool complex included.  

The referendum will also call for a $0.305 increase to the current expense tax rate that will generate almost $4.6 million annually in revenue for needs such as salaries, utilities, technology and instructional materials. This increase will cost the average taxpayer $85 a year, or $7 a month.

In the previous referendum, voters were asked to approve a $0.335 increase to the current expense tax rate that would have cost taxpayers $94 a year, or $8 a month.

Together, the impact on the average taxpayer would be $110 a year, or $9 a month. The previous average increase was $154 a year, or $12 a month.

Voters will asked to answer one question – for or against – on the combined requests. 

The referendum is set for Tuesday, May 21. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. at Cape High, Mariner Middle, Beacon Middle, Rehoboth Elementary and Lewes Public Library. Voters must live in the district and provide proof of identity and address.

See expanded coverage in the Tuesday, April 16 edition.

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