Toledo City Council wants Lincoln County School District to help pay for a water line upgrade to Toledo High
The Toledo City Council Wednesday night asked Lincoln County Schools Superintendent Tom Rinearson why the district gave the city of Waldport several hundred thousand dollars to help pay for a big new water pipe to serve the new Waldport High School and yet Toledo is being asked to foot the whole bill for a bigger pipe to serve a renovated Toledo High School. Toledo Mayor Ralph Grutzmacher reasoned that since the pipe would be upsized to better serve the high school, shouldn’t the school district contribute to its cost?
Superintendent Tom Rinearson and Rich Belloni said that at the time they were getting permits to renovate Toledo High, they learned that the city of Toledo had already approved the upsizing of the pipe that runs by the entrance to the school (per a request from Toledo Fire Chief and Fire Marshal Will Ewing) and had included it in the town’s sewer and water reconstruction plan. But because a new water tank to go with those upsized pipes was well over two years away, the school district simply got their building permit and went to work on the school.
However, City Councilor Larry Davis eventually got a phone call from a disgruntled Toledo resident who expressed his concern that the school district had shelled out hundreds of thousands of dollars for the upsized pipe for Waldport but had offered no such assistance to Toledo.
Rinearson and the council agreed that there needs to be additional discussions about the issue. However, Belloni says this recent development may not be solvable until after the school district’s $64 million dollar schools improvement bond projects are completed – perhaps two years from now. Belloni said when the district went to the voters asking for the bond, and accompanied property tax increase, they promised and gave the voters a checklist of improvements that would be made if the bond passed. Belloni said it’s a commitment they gave Lincoln County residents with full faith and transparency. He says they have awarded bids and contracts for the work and local communities are watching them very closely.
Belloni said, “Expenditures have been pretty much on target so there may be little if any money left over, but the district won’t rule it out either. We’ve watched all our expenditures and work progress very closely, and we’ll continue to do so.”
Again, both sides in the debate have agreed to continue the dialog with an aim to ensuring both sides’ concerns are addressed.