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Village Vision News

A letter from the mayor of Forsyth

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Dear Friends,
Allow me to address an issue that has surfaced recently. A few months ago, the Maroa-Forsyth School Board began work on a long-range plan to consider replacing the older buildings now being used with a new facility. Among the options was to buy additional land adjacent to the grade school in Forsyth. I was contacted by Jimmy Peck to see if the Village Board would be interested in selling more land. My first step was to inform our Village Administrator. During our conversations about the School Board’s future plans, I told Mrs. Kimmons that an agreement for repayment of the bond money had not been agreed to. As many of you may recall, when talks first started concerning the new grade school, it was believed that the Village could build the school and lease it to the School District. We were told by the bond counsel that the entity issuing the bonds had to be the owner of this facility. Hence the school district became owner of the building, and the Village retained ownership of the land on which it stood.

The first agreement signed between the Village and the School District had a clause removed that provided for repayment of the bond monies (June 4, 2007). The next agreement signed was for the sale of the land under the school to be paid from the “Lease Levy” (October 2008).

The “Lease Levy” had been referred to as the source for any lease agreements and/or repayment of bond monies. At some point in the past, counsel informed the School District it was illegal to use the “Lease Levy” to repay the bond expenses to the Village. A record of the date this occurred is not available.

Everyone involved in this situation is searching files, meeting notes and all records possible to determine why a repayment agreement was not negotiated. As your Mayor, I feel obligated to determine as nearly as possible what happened. I believe the School District felt that once the “Lease Levy” was ruled out as a repayment tool, they were clear of any obligation. I believe the Board thought that as long as the “Lease Levy” was obligated to other expenses, we could delay talks about repayment.

At no time do I believe that a member of either Board has done anything other than what has been for the benefit of the Village and the School District. This project has been a terrific example of a community working together for our kids, and we need to continue working with the School District. In conclusion, this issue will be resolved and I hope very soon.

Warmest regards, Hap Gilbert, Mayor

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