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Letter to the Editor: Senior Citizens Will Bear Heavy Burden of Bond Costs

Senior Citizen Claus Jensen writes in a letter to the editor about the impacts the proposed $196 million school bond could have on senior residents, especially those living on a fixed income.

(Ed. Note: This is the second of three letters Mercer Island Patch received over the weekend, March 16-18. from Janet Frohnmayer at 2 p.m. we'll publish a third letter from Cindi Pacecca, a first-grade teacher at Lakeridge Elementary School, at 6 p.m.)

Editor:

As a resident of Mercer Island for the past 32 years - and a retired senior at age 79 - I am extremely concerned about the financial impact of the upcoming $200 Million school bond, scheduled for a vote next month.

Most Senior Citizens are living on a steadily decreasing income, due to the near-zero percent interest policy of the Federal Reserve which has cut annual yields on IRAs and CDs from 5% to minus 2% when inflation is factored in.

Against that background, any major increases in local taxes are bound to jeopardize the financial well being of our fellow Senior Citizens and indeed force many of us to consider whether we can continue to afford to live on Mercer Island.

The projected cost to a homeowner with an assessed valuation of $950,000 will be approximately $3,600 per year for just the school portion of the annual Property Tax. The bond also calls for buying land for a "sixth school," but not the money to build that school, and for designing a master plan for the north campus "mega-block," but not the money for any changes there. Clarity on costs to citizens is critical in our current economic climate. We do not know the cost of other proposals that may come from the City, including a new fire station or moving city hall, or from King County, Sound Transit or others. (ref. Citizens for Rational School Planning at http://www.no-mi-school-tear-down.com/)

I am afraid that many Senior Citizens living on Mercer Island are unaware of the financial sacrifice that they might be forced to make due to the exorbitant cost of the bond. I hope they will join me in voting "NO" on April 17.

Sincerely,

Claus V. Jensen

Kendall Watson March 22, 2012 at 08:43 PM
True and true. Good catch, sir.
Jim Stanton March 23, 2012 at 07:13 PM
As a senior I'm also very concerned about the maintaining the value of my house which in large part depends from the quality and reputation of the Mercer Island school system. $700 a year to protect and enhance the value of my house strikes me as a prudent investment.
Kendall Watson March 23, 2012 at 07:19 PM
Thanks Jim. Must be a nice house!
Candace Scarcello Dempsey March 23, 2012 at 08:44 PM
I am thrilled. By a 5-0 vote, the Mercer Island School Board decided last night NOT to rebuild Island Park on the Stevenson/Redeemer parcel. It takes a great school district to listen to its residents and change its mind when it's on the wrong course. Nice to know that the school board and Superintendent Plano consider public input important and relevant. I feel happy and relieved today. We all win because Island Park Elementary will be rebuilt on its beautiful spacious site. http://www.misd.k12.wa.us/news/frontpage/land.html
Kevin Scheid April 03, 2012 at 04:05 AM
Jackie, Mercer Island is paying off an approximate $30M, 20 year school bond which financed the school remodel at a cost of $0.55 per thousand. Can you explain how we can pay off a $196M, 20 year bond at a cost of $0.70 per thousand? The math simply does not work. The rate of $0.7 per thousand equals roughly $5.6 Million in taxes collected every year. 20 years of $5.6M equals $112M. So that tax rate will not pay the interest or the principle on the loan. $700 in tax payments for a valuation of a million simply is not true for the life of this loan, so what is the real amount we will pay for this loan?

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