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BEA hires consultant for levy campaign

By Staff | Jul 19, 2009

Blue Earth Area School District will pay a consultant to help with its campaign to renew an operating levy.

This is the final year of a five-year 2004 levy, which generates $650 per student or more than $900,000 a year.

Monday night, board members approved hiring the education consulting firm of Springsted and spending $2,500 to $3,000 for their services.

The Twin Cities-based company worked with the district on the last referendum.

Superintendent Dale Brandsoy recommended Springsted be hired again because committee members in favor of the 2004 levy were comfortable working with them.

“We want to make sure everything we put out as a district is neutral,” he says. “I think that is worth having a contract with somebody like Springsted.”

Jim Schmitt of Springsted was on hand to outline options and what the district did five years ago.

Because the board is planning to ask for the same levy amount, he reviewed the 2004 referendum.

At a cost of $1,000 each, Schmitt says his company will provide tax impact computations and individual online property tax calculations on the district’s website.

Board chairman Frankie Bly says he likes the website calculation tool because it allows citizens to figure out how much the levy would cost them.

Board member Vickie Hanson says if Springsted is able to calculate the tax impact first and it is similar to 2004, maybe the website calculator will not be needed.

Brandsoy says the website calculator lets property owners calculate levy impacts and they don’t have to take the word of board members.

“When they can go on there and see it themselves it builds a confidence level,” adds Brandsoy.

Among other services Springsted will offer include pre-campaign planning and campaign support.

The district also will have to pay for legal fees provided by an outside firm.

The board must now approve a resolution stating the amount and length of the referendum at their August meeting so it appears on the ballot in November.

Meanwhile, board members are putting together a list of people they think may work toward passage of the levy.

Blue Earth businessman Mike Enger has worked on at least three referendum votes.

Enger says if asked, he probably would be willing to help any way he can.

“With all the other things we are being hammered with for taxes, I think education should be a priority,” he says. “I would much rather contribute to the education of a child than the new law enforcement center.”

In other business, the board approved several bids for the upcoming school year.

Waste Management was awarded the waste removal bid at about $16,000, while B&B Sanitation submitted a bid of $17,513.

The low bid for bakery was Sara Lee, while Sampson had the low dairy bid with quotes 20 percent to 30 percent less than last year.

Snow removal was awarded to Ron’s Trenching of Winnebago and the softener salt bid went to Coxworth Water Conditioning of Blue Earth at $.085 per pound.

Diesel and ethanol enhanced fuel was awarded to Kwik Trip for cars/vans and buses.

For vehicles at the Winnebago garage, Krull-Crosby was awarded the low bid.