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Voters approve items at Special Annual Meeting

Hamilton School District residents unanimously approved two measures March 23 affecting district financing and property. Some 15 district residents attended the Special Annual Meeting to take up matters of refinancing the district’s Wisconsin Retirement System unfunded pension liability and granting an easement on Maple Avenue Elementary School property.

Like other school districts and municipalities, Hamilton was assessed the unfunded retirement liability in 1982 when three retirement systems merged. In January, the School Board approved paying off the $4.2 million debt to the state with an interim short-term loan, intending to refinance it into a 20-year loan. Voter approval was required at a Special Annual Meeting to authorize refinancing of the debt through the State Trust Fund. Ultimately, school officials hope to save $8.9 million over 20 years by reducing the interest rate on the debt from 8 percent that it was paying the state to a more competitive rate. Initial estimates that district officials received indicated the district would be able to refinance it at a rate of 5.25 percent or better.

In the easement matter, the district sought approval to allow the Village of Sussex to provide permanent, temporary and tree-lined easements to allow municipal storm sewer improvements. Approval at a Special Annual Meeting is required to grant an easement.