Pelham education fund tops $3 million
By MOLLY DAVIDSON / Staff Writer
PELHAM—The Pelham education fund passed $3 million at the close of April, thanks to a 1-cent sales tax increase approved by the Pelham City Council in late July and enacted in September 2013.
The sales tax generated $385,989.75 in April, calculated at the end of May, bringing the education fund to more than $3.1 million.
The monthly revenue generated by the sales tax is expected to rise during the summer months, Pelham Finance Director Tom Seale said.
“We anticipate (tax revenue to) continue to increase the rest of the fiscal year,” Seale said, noting past data. “That’s what it has done in the past.”
Seale estimated the 1-cent sales tax could bring in more than $400,000 each month, adding more than $1 million to the education fund before the start of the 2014-2015 academic year.
“Every penny” of the revenue generated for the education fund goes directly to the new Pelham City School System, Seale said.
In addition to the revenue generated by the 1-cent sales tax, the Pelham City Council voted during a June 2 council meeting to assist the Pelham City School System through a memorandum of understanding, allowing the school system to use the city’s credit to secure better rates when issuing bonds to finance major capital projects.
By partnering in this way, the city could help the Pelham City School System save up to $1.5 million in financing, City Council President Rick Hayes said.
The new Pelham City School System has several large capital projects on its agenda focused on improving “the condition of schools and location of them,” Pelham Board of Education President Rick Rhoades said.
Over the next two to three years “a lot of work” will be done to improve the Pelham City Schools facilities, including moving the middle school to a “central location for our community,” Rhoades said.
“We’re going to have to build at least one additional school,” Rhoades said, noting the inconvenient location of the middle school and the outdated structures of several other school buildings.
The Board of Education is immediately working to “give everything a facelift,” by thoroughly cleaning, repainting, upgrading and adding new signage to existing facilities Rhoades said.