Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Local Impact of Renewing the PPEL

Over the last couple of weeks, the efforts of this column have been to draw your attention to the upcoming election on September 10th. While we will be electing new members to the Board of Directors, we will also be asking voters to consider renewing the PPEL. As a reminder, the Physical Plant and Equipment Levy is not an increase in property tax. Renewing this revenue stream will continue to be a valuable resource for the school district that enables us to provide top notch learning resources for our students.

However, it does more than just provide for the school district. There is undoubtedly a local connection and it is significant. It is true that our new school buses are built out of state and the computers that our students use everyday are not homegrown, but to look only at those examples of PPEL expenditures is to see only a fraction of the picture. There are a number of ways that PPEL dollars have a local connection.

When a capital project is conceptualized, the first consideration is typically an estimation of overall cost. Iowa law requires competitive bidding for any project in excess of $100,000. It is kind of tricky to estimate the cost of some of these projects so we rely on the expertise of local firms to help us out. For example, Kapaun Consulting has been a critical partner for the district as we work through some of these complicated electrical estimations.

We have been fortunate the last couple of years to utilize local contractors for a number of our projects. For example, the entire electrical system in the elementary school was recently upgraded. During this renovation, all of the wiring was replaced and new circuits were installed. This project was completed over the course of two summers by Chapman Electric, a firm located right here in Hudson.

You have probably also noticed that we have done quite a bit of work to our parking lots over the last three years. The first phase of the high school parking lot required a lot of sub-grade work to lay new pipe and tiling to ensure proper drainage, and that we are moving water off the property without flooding our neighbors. This phase of the project was completed with the help of Hudson Hardware Plumbing and Heating, right here in Hudson. Next summer we will be paving the north parking lot, which is adjacent to the middle school. This summer we started that work with another sub-grade project with piping and tiling. The work on this project was completed by Whole Excavation, a firm located here in Hudson.

I showed you a picture of our new school bus last week; now obviously we don't buy our buses here in Hudson, but was about our smaller vehicles like vans and cars? If you take a look at the parking lot where they are kept you should notice that they are all Fords, bought right here at Colwell Ford.

The items mentioned above quite literally account for hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of business, and that is just in the last couple of years. But that relationship doesn't stop with just those projects! We continue to call on these businesses long after the original project has been completed. From servicing our fleet vehicles, installing a new electrical outlet, or fixing a broken water main-the relationships that we have with our local businesses in one that we take great pride in!

You can vote on September 10th from noon to 8:00 PM at the Hudson Community Center.

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